I’m Elizabeth Henry, and I work as a mixed-methods evaluation researcher in global health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I also teach program evaluation at the Boston University School of Public Health.
As instructors, too often we present content without allowing sufficient space and time for processing. In this blogpost I’m sharing my own reflections on applying principles of Dialogue Education to teaching evaluation. I share a simple but effective strategy I have learned that empowers students to lead in their own process of learning.
On the first day of my course, I display an image of real data from a real program evaluation, similar to the example below, with some context about the program:
After a brief introduction to the program and data, the questions begin:
After processing these questions, I project a second slide, as shown below:
Now, no one wants to fund the program. Using the same four simple questions I can guide students to connect to concepts such as the importance of having a counterfactual, or collecting qualitative data to establish context. We contrast between power analyses, statistically significant differences, and meaningful differences. We discuss baseline equivalence between study groups and using statistical matching techniques when the groups are balanced.
This strategy also provides a framework for the ongoing collaborative learning process as we question real-life case studies of evaluations to solidify core concepts.
Further reading on open questions and other strategies that have been developed as part of dialogue education by Dr. Jane Vella and associates can be found at: https://www.globallearningpartners.com/
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