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Evaluating learning modules

There are multiple methods for assessing your learning module that can add to experimental designs and pre/post test measures. This guide focuses on a few evaluative methods that may work well for warranting claims about your learning module’s effectiveness. These methods may be especially useful to consider l as you write your IRB application (be sure you are collecting all of the relevant data!), and as you prepare professional conference presentations and papers.

Evaluative program research in education focuses on processes and outcomes. Processes focus on the learning activities planned within the learning module. Outcomes focus on the consequences of the activities relative to learning objectives. Whereas both processes and outcomes can (and should) be evaluated, this guide focuses on processes because it is concerned with augmenting experimental and quasi-experimental designs that are inherently concerned with outcomes.

The guide is by no means exhaustive, and is focused specifically on potential methods that align with research questions BOLD fellows often pursue. Expect the guide to grow in response to the interests of individual fellows, and the aims of individual projects.

Starting points for process evaluation:

  1. Content analysis
  2. Assessments of prior knowledge
    1. Background knowledge probes
    2. Misconception / Preconception Check
    3. Focus group interviews (pre and/or post module)
    4. Student motivation in STEM fields