Why is it important to evaluate synchronous online sessions and what type of evaluation might you use in your own synchronous online teaching most often?
I believe that through evaluation, we are able to draw meaning and make connections from the learning activity. It is a key ingredient to how and when we see the learning and the application of learning come alive. The learning session is merely a moment in time, and for adult learners, it is integrated into the rest of their life experience, prior knowledge, and future endeavors. By evaluating the impact of the learning (what was learnt? how engaged were the learners in the session? What impact will it have on their behaviour/thinking in the future?), we are able to begin to answer the "so what" of why we are offering learning opportunities to begin with.
The Kirkpatrick model (as was mentioned by other participants), helps provide that framework. I typically use a combination of open-ended questions and Likert rating scales to understand impact, but have also included follow up focus groups and/or interviews, simulation, observation and more to understand impact.
Thank you Elena - you clearly understand the importance of evaluation. Indeed, the "so what" level of evaluation is really where the effectiveness of the learning is revealed. Keep up the good work that you are doing in our health care system. You are making an impact! Ross