Monday, 23 January 2012

Digital evaluation

I once attempted a joke about e-learning, following Don Morrison’s suggestion that a measure of an industry, profession or sector’s maturity is the emergence of jokes about it.

In that spirit, the prospects for learning evaluation are discouraging. This is a field that dates back at least 60 years, and the only humorous observation I’ve heard is more a witticism than a joke, that the return on investment (ROI) of ROI isn’t worth calculating.

...yes, I didn’t think it was very funny either.

The thing is, it’s not even true. The advent of digital technology has made learning evaluation more affordable, efficient and effective.

I observed in my book Delivering E-Learning that applications of digital technology to learning have concentred on learning delivery, and not much on the other phases of the classic learning cycle (needs analysis, planning and evaluation). While this remains so, there are increasing attempts to make better use of technology for evaluation. In a few weeks (1 March 2012), Airthrey will publish a paper on this topic, highlighting the use of technology for evaluation planning, data collection, storage and analysis, and reporting.

More to follow, and meantime, contributions to the debate welcome.

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