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H819 begins...

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H819 has begun with a big reunion! So many familiar names and faces!

Even the first readings have got my mind abuzz so I'll go on the first of many mental journeys right here, right now.

Measuring 'success' in education is more or less impossible.

As this module is about research we are all being encouraged to think of an area of our practice, or of our interest, which we could plan some research to assess impact and success. I immediately felt cynical. There are so many problems.

  1. What is 'success'? Is it engagement? Enjoyment? Outputs? Application? Over what timescale?
  2. How do you control for ALL the variables? I mean every learner whether they're aged 1 or 100 is subject to an almost infinite and definitely unique combination of external variables. How can you possibly attribute any output (or whatever) to whatever educational input you're trying to evaluate?
  3. How do you control for the learning specific variables? Unless you're able to design a learning program with only one style of input (or whatever) then how will you know which activity led to which output (or engagement, enjoyment, application etc!)
  4. Ethics -  is it fair to experiment by trialing unknown and untested activities? The best way to get good (or usable?) data would be to isolate a single group and activity and use it in contrast to a control group.
  5. Time scale - at what point is it reasonable to declare an activity a success or failure? It goes back to defining success or failure. 
Throughout my MAODE studies I have found an internal conflict between thinking of learning as a sacred and lifelong human experience (as well as an endeavor), and the more pragmatic reality in which learning is a means to an end and we (as practitioners) are aiming to make the means as effective as possible and the ends as valuable as possible.
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