Friday, March 28, 2008

Summary Week Four: Evaluation paradigms and models

Some steady activity has been happening over the Easter weeks. I am impressed that most of you are demonstrating your progress very well in your blogs and communicating with each other. Keep up the great work. If you prefer to move at your own pace that is okay as well. The course schedule is a guide for keeping pace with the group.

Rika has provided an excellent critique of the different paradigms with some examples of situations where they might be used - and has helped us to decipher the long words! I am very excited to see that she has actually used the Critical Theory Neomarxist post modern praxis paradigm for evaluating "education resources from a Treaty / Bicultural perspective".

Jennifer in her week 4 post questions the usefulness of the Constructivist-Heremeneutic-Interpretivist-Qualitative Paradigm; check out Rika's blog post - for an example of when it can be used: "Evaluating from this perspective I would immerse myself in the world of the subject and try and understand how they had learnt and how the course had affected their construction and interpretation of reality".

Jennifer also suggests how the Eclectic-Mixed Methods-Pragmatic Paradigm matches the 360◦ approach used in management/human resource surveys. Do you agree? There is also some very useful critiquing of different models in both Jennifer's post and Helga's post.

Helga has mentioned that Patton’s Qualitative Evaluation Model might be useful for her needs due to the use of a range of qualitative methods. I wonder which paradigms this model fits under? Any ideas everyone?

Hilary expresses the need for evaluation in relation to paradigms very well: "I can particularly relate to the ‘pragmatic’ aspect which reflects the fact that nothing is ever perfect in education but can be improved through design and recognition of possible flaws."

If you are looking for some easy way to make sense of all this paradigm stuff, Gordon had done some great paraphrasing in a table which he has linked on his blog. He has picked through the dense theoretical information and come out "alive" at the other end, armed with resources to make sense of it.

If people wish to read further about needs analysis and Stake's Responsive Evaluation Model there is a very informative article (Sleezer, C. M., Kelsey, K. D., & Wood, T. (2005). Assessing safety training needs at AVN 300: A case study) in the Resources area on the wiki.

Most people appear to favour the Eclectic mixed methods pragmatic paradigm, and can see the benefits of the rich data you can obtain from an evaluation under this paradigm. As Rika points out - it could be complicated to design, but well worth the effort.

Remember that through the use of mixed methods under the Eclectic-Mixed Methods-Pragmatic Paradigm , there is ample opportunity to incorporate both quantitative and qualitative approaches. In the real world it is also important to have versatile options and to investigate from several angles. Which is your paradigm and model of choice for your project?

It looks like some of you have got so tied up with the paradigms that you forgot about the models - it would be great to see some posts on possible models you might use in your projects.

You might also like to check out Oneteachersview08 - a creative take on the use of eLearning guidelines and competencies for secondary schools and a post about an elearning action plan. For example, competencies for "the ICT area and the Technology Curriculum and about being actively involved in communities. The guidelines he has chosen reflect this.

Wrap up
Paradigms and models did not mix well with chocolate eggs and rabbits for some people. I hope you manage to stay with the group and keep up with the material, but no worries if you wish to go at your own pace. Please try and post something short, at least weekly about your progress, in any case, so we know you are still with us.

If I have missed anyone out, please let me know here and I will add something about your post.

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