As we approach the end of the semester and progress through our final group projects, the reading that I have been revisiting more frequently is chapter 6 about evaluation in Cennamo and Kalk’s Real World Instructional Design. Because of the iterative nature of the design process, evaluation is an important element of the process for many projects.
Utilizing formative evaluation whether it is our group assignments or projects at the workplace has become much more present while spending time on tasks. I have found myself thinking about evaluation over the past few weeks whenever approaching a new phase of the group project or a milestone at my workplace. Several projects greatly benefitted from taking time to review work completed through different perspectives based on the audience and stakeholders or an outline in order to ensure that I am on track with what is needed. In several cases, a formal evaluation and review with stakeholders lead to slight adjustments mid-project that would not have been able to be adjusted without re-working several elements that would cost time for myself and other parties. Formative evaluation has also helped our group as we review our work at each milestone throughout the project proposal document which has resulted in checking to make sure nothing is left out as well as new ideas that supported the next milestone.
Before reading about evaluation, it never connected for me how often I help review projects for my colleagues. Working alongside instructional designers, it has become much clearer how valuable the one-on-one review is especially when executed alongside a comment form for feedback. The one-on-one review with feedback seems to be a very valuable method to get initial data on parts or an entire project from a small initial test pool. This review method would help a design get closer to an effective test pilot.
One important note that the authors bring to attention is reporting results from evaluations such as a test pilot or field test. This valuable information provides feedback for the entire design team to help guide with decisions on revisions that would cost a project time to completion or success on launch. Remembering that continuous evaluations throughout the design process are not exclusively to inform us as future instructional designers is an important philosophy to remember as the success of our projects depend on the entire team that we will be leading.
Overall, the methods and importance of evaluation help keep us on track to remember that we must remember to ask ourselves Who, What, and Why when reviewing progress. Scaling formative evaluations and analyzing the feedback will hopefully help us all as we eventually receive positive feedback from the summative evaluations of instruction that we develop for our learners.