Liz Zadnik on Staying current in evaluation while also juggling other responsibilities (A Practitioner’s struggle)

Hi there, Liz Zadnik here, bringing you another Saturday post focused on practitioner experiences and approaches. Today I’m going to focus on my personal journey to stay up-to-date and relevant in all things evaluation.

I was not formally trained as an evaluator – everything I know has been learned or gained through on-the-job hands-on experiences and mentorship (I’m very lucky to have been able to work with a few brilliant evaluators and researchers!). Self-study, reading, and ongoing training have been intentionally incorporated into my personal and professional schedule.

Rad Resource: Coursera is an excellent resource for online learning. You can even get certifications in concentrations after completing a set of courses in sequence. They have a number of courses around data analysis and data science!

Rad Resource: iVersity coordinates and archives some really interesting and innovative massive open online courses (MOOCs). The “Future of Storytelling” course gave me a number of ideas and skills for crafting accessible and engaging trainings and resources, as well as some insights for capturing stories for program evaluation. Recent and future courses focus on idea generation methods and gamification theory.

Lesson Learned: Follow your gut! At first I thought I needed to select courses, books, and resources that were explicitly “evaluation-y,” but found it was those courses that made me say “Oooh! That looks interesting!” helped me think creatively and find ways to enhance my evaluation and program development skills.

Rad Resource: MIT Open Courseware is much more structured and academic, as these are courses held at MIT. These require – for me – a bit more organization and scheduling.

Rad Resource: edX is another great chance to engage in online courses and MOOCs. Right now they have two courses on my “to-take” list: Evaluating Social Problems and The Science of Everyday Thinking.

Are there other online course providers or resources you rely on to stay current? How do you stay up-to-date and innovative as you balance other obligations and projects?

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “Liz Zadnik on Staying current in evaluation while also juggling other responsibilities (A Practitioner’s struggle)”

  1. Ricardo Wilson-Grau

    Many thanks, Liz, for the link to The Science of Everyday Thinking. In addition to the content itself, this on-line methodology is undoubtably part of the wave of the future in on-going learning.

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