Evaluation planning

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It is best to refer to general information about evaluation first. This will help you to understand the different functions of evaluation, and whether formative or summative evaluation is needed. Like any project, if you carefully design and plan your approach, you will save heaps of time and angst later on. Sneak up on it as you would a herd of elephants on the Savannah. Take your time, think carefully and seek guidance. Evaluation is extremely important for finding out if an innovation or new strategy or product is well designed and effective. It is sometimes easier to plan your evaluation when you have a question or questions that you wish to answer and specific decisions to make.

Where to start?
  • Aim: Decide on the purpose of the evaluation - this will shape up into your aim or aims.
  • Objectives: list specific things you intend to do. Later on these link to specific milestones and outputs.
  • Decisions: what needs to be done after the evaluation. Who will make these? Decisions are not always foreseeable but they can be anticipated.
Evaluation question - What type of multimedia do language learners prefer?

Aim: To conduct a formative evaluation of a multimedia language learning module for delivery to distance students.

  • 1. To measure whether the multimedia used in the module is likely to support language learning;
  • 2. To collect feedback about the design of the module;
  • 3. To establish whether the interactive content is relevant to language learners.


  • Finalise the design of the module, prior to piloting it with further groups students.
  • Determine whether further funding is needed to develop similar modules.
Where to next?
  • Decide on the participants: who is affected by the evaluation? Who needs to take part? Participants can be primary stakeholders - most directly linked to the innovation, for example, students and teachers; or secondary stakeholders - indirectly affected, for example, organisational managers. The type of evaluation (function) can help to guide this. For example if you intend to undertake a review type of evaluation, then you may need to seek feedback from experts in the field (Expert Review).

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Explore these resources.

  • An excellent resource written specifically for eLearning environments in Australasia and North America. Available on request to your facilitator as an e-book.
Reeves, T. & Hedberg, J. (2008). Evaluating e-Learning: a user-friendly guide.
  • Excellent book on research evaluation for elearning available from Robertson library.
Phillips, R., McNaught, C. & Kennedy, G. (2012). Evaluating e-Learning: guiding research and practice. Routledge.
  • Useful information for general evaluation processes in education with a business focus.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2009). Designing education projects: a Comprehensive approach to Needs Assessment, Project Planning and Implementation, and Evaluation, (2nd Edn). U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved from http://www.oesd.noaa.gov/leadership/DEP_Manual_2ndEdt_Final.pdf