This NCCPE paper explores the roles of auditing, benchmarking and evaluating university public engagement. It brings a multitude of different approaches together into one framework that seeks to capture the variety of public engagement under seven broad dimensions. There is no single tool to effectively evaluate all forms of university public engagement; however, the paper identifies a number of existing tools that may be effective for different types or dimensions of engagement.
This article by Gajda and Jewiss (2004) published in the American online journal Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation 9(8) introduces educational practitioners to the field of programme evaluation. If you are relatively new to evaluation, there are various approaches and tools described here that will help you articulate your programme's outcomes, activities and indicators. You are also given the strategies to assess the quantity and quality of your programme's achievements. Questions and case studies will guide you through the process.
The toolkit contains two guides by evaluation experts David Baume and John Peters who approach the subject from distinct disciplinary backgrounds. Both guides are well-referenced and provide evaluation guidance for any venture associated with personal development planning (PDP), such as a policy, an initiative, a project, an event, a course, a resource or a piece of technology. In the 'Guide for evaluating PDP ventures', David Baume, an experienced evaluator of HE projects, provides helpful detail on how to define project goals, gather baseline data and monitor and evaluate effectively against a project plan. Even if you do not conceive of your PDP implementation work as a project his advice on defining and clarifying the intentions and milestones of PDP work is fundamental to successful evaluation. John Peters' 'Guide and toolkit for evaluating PDP' offers a full introduction to evaluation, starting with the purposes of and audiences for evaluation before working through to methods and reporting.
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council's Inspiring Learning Framework aims to help itsmembers capture and evidence their impact by identifying generic learning and social outcomes for individuals and communities. Be sure to check out the invaluable download section with action planning templates and checklists, guides to selecting research methods, questionnaires and coding tools as well as the searchable directory of case studies. There is even a tool that allows you to Have a go at coding learning outcomes. Guidance is also given on how the information generated from evaluation can be used to develop new partnerships and support a funding bid.
How do we know if a learning initiative is "making a difference"? Pauline Nashashibi's guide for the Learning and Skills Development Agency (2004) aims to help organisations identify, maximise and evaluate the impact of learning, both on the learner and on the communities in which they live or work. She shows that it is possible to develop simple approaches to this whilst recognising the richness and complexity of learning. She advocates the involvement of learners in the evaluation of their learning programme. Progression, one form of impact, is addressed along with the wider benefits of learning. Illustrated by case studies (many with a widening participation element) and using clearly defined terms to identify different kinds of impact, this guide can help providers approach this complex topic with confidence.
This multi-authored online toolkit published by the Learning Technology Dissemination Initiative (LTDI) presents a range of evaluation methods for lecturers interested in evaluating materials for their effectiveness in achieving learning outcomes. As with all good recipe books, you are introduced to the fundamentals of "menu planning" (the "who", "what" and "how" of evaluation) before being presented with the "recipes" (detailed descriptions of evaluation methods). This accessible guide is written so that you can pick and mix from a range of ideas and so design an evaluation study to suit your needs. There is useful advice on writing evaluation reports and information pages providing a detailed analysis of specific issues (e.g. questionnaire design). The "Serving Suggestions" section gives examples of how the different methods have been used in practice. The Cookbook is also downloadable as a PDF.