An Experiential Model of Evaluation: Incorporating Graduate Students in the Collection and Reporting of Mixed-Method Data

Nancy C. Deringer


A graduate level course was developed which incorporated the experiential learning philosophy of “learning by doing.” Students gained knowledge about program development and evaluation through using an on-line course management system as well as practicing what they learned during on-site evaluation visits. All background and supplementary reading materials, assignments, chats, and discussions were managed on-line. Students applied what they learned and collected quantitative and qualitative data while conducting site visits throughout the semester. Through this experiential learning evaluation course students made meaning from their direct experiences, took time to reflect upon their learning, and felt confident in their abilities as future evaluators. Having a number of graduate students from a variety of backgrounds added a breadth of content at little or no extra cost. This additional data can be used with program staff and stakeholders for continuous program improvement.

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