Sep
10

Some thoughts about evaluation

Filed Under (program evaluation) by Molly on 10-09-2013

I read a lot of blogs.  Some blogs are on evaluation; some are on education; some are on food; some are random (travel, health)…I get ideas from each of them, although not all at the same time.  Once I have an idea I write my blog.

Today, I’m drawing from several blogs to come up with these thoughts.  I read AEA 365 by Sheila B, Robinson (I’m a little behind), Harold Jarche blog (Life in perpetual beta), and Eval Central for Friday, September 6, 2013 (Eval Central compiles blogs related to evaluation).  These seemingly unrelated posts (all very interesting) talk about continued learning from different perspectives.

AEA365 talks about “Ancora imparo” (from Michelangelo) or still learning. (This saying is attributed to Michelangelo who was supposed to have said this in his 80s.)  Evaluators must continue to learn–the field is changing so fast.  Michael Scriven, who gave a keynote at the Australasian Evaluation Society  (as posted in Genuine Evaluation) talks about the field of evaluation “taking the core” to become the “inner circle” because evaluation is the “alpha discipline”.  In order to do that, evaluators must continue to learn (although Michael probably has a more eloquent approach).  Reading helps.  Talking helps.  Working helps.  From all of these, learning can occur.

Harold Jarche reviews a book by Charles Jennings, the foremost authority on the 70-20-10 frameworkcharles jennings 70-20-10 framework, talks about how this “holistic framework…is not a recipe” for learning, even though the numbers stand for 70% Experience, 20% Exposure, and 10% Education which make it sound like a recipe.   (Substitute flour, butter, sugar–makes a recipe for a type of short bread; even food makes its way into my blog…) As an evaluator, learning at work (experience) seems to be the same learning that Robinson talks about, not classroom learning.  Jennings  “…describes workplace learning as based on four key activities:

  1. Exposure to new and rich experiences.
  2. The opportunity to practice.
  3. Engaging in conversation and exchanges with each other.
  4. Making time to reflect on new observations, information, experiences, etc.”

Sounds like the same thing to me–reading, talking, working; continued learning–ancora imparo .

The last blog I read (the Eval Central post by Patricia Rogers in Better Evaluation blogs) reporting on another keynote at the Australasian Evaluation Society (this keynote by Nan Wehipihana).  The blog reports Nan Wehipeihana and her framework of increasing control by Indigenous communities in evaluation (Her “to” , “for”, “with”, “by” and “as” framework.)  This is a different way of looking at evaluation; one from which all evaluators can learn; one from which all evaluators can add to their own tool box.  (Check out the blog post for an informative graphic about this framework.)

Seems like everything I’m reading right now talks about continued learning, and not in the classroom.  Hmmm…learning is important if what Michael Scriven talks about is going to happen.

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2 Comments Already, Leave Yours Too

Sheila B. Robinson on 11 September, 2013 at 2:57 am #
    

Well done Molly! Learning about learning is potentially a full-time job (but fascinating from my perspective as an educator, my first field). I agree with Jennings’ 4 principles of workplace learning and would add that learning is often mediated by individuals who act as coaches, or mentors (the notions of apprenticeship and legitimate peripheral participation come to mind) and is socially constructed as we learn side-by-side or in collaboration. The internet has been a great mediator in this regard and a boon to evaluator learning with the opportunity for people like us to read, blog, share (our new learning, our tools of the trade, our collections of resources, our reflections on our own learning, etc.), and engage in thoughtful discourse. :-)


englem on 17 September, 2013 at 10:43 am #
    

I appreciate your comment, Sheila. Blogging is one way of learning–and reading others blogs helps me learn, think, talk, and then blog. What I’m finding is that I can read all day–doesn’t allow for much else, though, if I do… :)


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