Practitioner Research and Evaluation Skills Training (PREST)

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About this course

The Practitioner Research and Evaluation Skills Training (PREST) series is published by Commonwealth of Learning in collaboration with the International Research Foundation for Open Learning.

The PREST training resources provide practitioners working in open and distance learning (ODL) with convenient access to basic knowledge on how to conduct research and evaluation in their everyday work. Written for ODL practitioners by ODL practitioners, the interactive materials aim to develop practical skills through engagement in research tasks that draw on research and evaluation methods from education and social science, but use illustrative examples from international open and distance learning contexts.

PREST fills a gap in current provision for practical, first-rung research and evaluation skills training of immediate relevance in the workplace and aims to promote research and evaluation as an part of professional development for all ODL practitioners. The materials provide a strong foundation for progress to higher-level research programmes and qualifications.

The PREST materials are designed for use by two target groups - ODL practitioners wanting self-study or reference materials and training providers looking for flexible research training resources to integrate into a variety of training contexts (e.g., face-to-face workshops, e-learning or reference materials).

User Guide

The User Guide is available to download here.

PREST Core Modules

Providing a foundation in research and evaluation methods explored within ODL contexts for inexperienced researchers.
(20 to 40 reading hours each, plus activities)

The documents below are available to download in PDF or OpenOffice versions.

A1 : Doing educational research and evaluation in ODL

by Alan Woodley (an introduction)

A2 : Planning research and evaluation

by Anna Robinson-Pant

A3 : Getting and analysing quantitative data

by Alan Woodley


A4 : Getting and analysing qualitative data

by Rob Walker

A5 : Mixed research methods

by Christine Spratt, Rob Walker & Bernadette Robinson

A6 : Reporting on research and evaluation to support or influence change

by Janet Stuart & Colin Latchem

PREST Handbooks

Guides to conducting research and evaluation in a particular field of ODL
(20 reading hours each, plus activities)

B1 : Using programme monitoring in research and evaluation

by Neil Butcher

B2 : Measuring outcomes

by Charles Potter

B3 : Cost and economics of open and distance learning

by Hilary Perraton

B4 : Programme evaluation and its role in quality assurance

by Merridy Wilson-Strydom

B5 : Researching marginalised and disadvantaged learners

by Barbara Spronk & Jason Pennells

B6 : Researching tutoring and learner support

by Jane Brindley


Online versions on Moodle

[In progress]

PREST brochure and review

Note on copyright

Individuals accessing this site may reproduce (download/print) copies of the PREST materials and any accompanying third-party copyright materials for their own personal non-commercial use only. Any further reproduction or transmission of any such content is prohibited except by permission of the copyright holder of the relevant material.