The most interesting aspect of the Sam Gonzales case study that was presented was the discussion regarding evaluation. Formative and summative evaluation is so important, with perhaps formative evaluation being the most important. However, when evaluation is overlooked (as is often the case), I think its the formative evaluation that often gets the short shrift- even though it seems as though evaluating the program during its formation may actually have more of an impact on its success than evaluation after the fact. Next week I will be going to Washington D.C. to attend an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant workshop on OBE- Outcome Based Evaluation. I will be interested to see how what I learn there can be tied to what I'm learning in this class and how I'm applying this learning to my role as an educator.
I found the discussion on cultural differences very interesting, and actually thought it might relate very closely to the process of thinking about and developing learning activities. When developing learning activities, whether they're listening to lectures, group activities, tests or assignments, I think one thing to think about is the cultural and general backgrounds of the participants. For example, will people from some cultures feel less comfortable engaging in hands-on group activities? And if so, how do you deal with this without losing some of the valuable variety in the activities. Perhaps addressing peoples' feelings or uncertainties about engaging in various learning activities needs to be built into the instructional design.
After the discussion regarding the Ross Caslon case study, my immediate thoughts went to how to engage a group of learners with a wide variety of backgrounds. Say your learner assessment shows some similarities, but any differences in terms of backgrounds, knowledge, experiences, motivation, etc. One thing you can do is try to build into a course a variety of learning activities, such as discussion, reading, presentations, group work, etc. that speak to a variety of learners. But the Ross Caslon case demonstrated any additional need for one on one counseling or mentoring, which I think often must be a part of a course in order to meet the needs of learners with disparate backgrounds. Ross may need to meet with each of the teachers in the study individually to show them what WebPath could do for them, rather than trying to rely on an Instructional Design- one size fits all idea.