Vanora Mitchell on Evaluating Online Learning

My name is Vanora Mitchell and I am a professional independent evaluator working in Washington, DC.

How do we evaluate online learning? About a year ago, a school that I volunteer with asked me to help them to evaluate their new online learning initiatives. They were in the process of developing online courses and wanted to know how to identify success and if the evaluation process was different than for the traditional classroom. Here are three resources I found particularly useful as I did my background research:

Rad Resource: Evaluating Online Learning: Challenges and Strategies for Success: Written in 2008 by WestEd for the U.S. Department of Education, this 80 page report was my go-to guide. It had concrete examples, came from a reliable source, and was research-based.

Rad Resource: E-Learning Concepts and Techniques: This online collaborative ebook was developed in 2006 by a class at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Instructional Technology. The entire book is useful and Chapter 9 is devoted to E-Learning Evaluation.

Rad Resource: eLearn Magazine: Focusing mostly on the online classroom context, this magazine is web-based and free and full of articles that helped me to understand more about electronic learning. I read a number of background articles, but here are a few that were directly evaluation related:

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.

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