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  • Summary: How to evaluate course components

(Based on the report : Jara, M., Mohamad, F., Cranmer, S. (2008) "Evaluation of e-Learning Courses"  WLE Centre Occassional Paper 4, Institute of Education. November 2008. ISSN 1753-0385 and Dale, V. (2014) "UCL E-Learning Evaluation Toolkit").

These resources do not cover the full range of evaluation possibilities, but do provide an overview of some of the distinctive ways in which it is possible to evaluate e-learning courses. These resources are applicable to online and mixed-mode courses.



Summary of the recommendations:

For an evaluation to be effective a commitment to some additional time is required, as it needs to be:

  • planned before the course starts.
  • part of the overall design of the course.
  • students need to be informed about the evaluation from the outset.

The evaluation of a course should:

  1. Collect feedback from all stakeholders:
    1. students, 
    2. tutors,
    3. administrators, and
    4. technical support staff.
    5. Also consider feedback from others such as potential employers about the validity of the course material.
  2. Collect feedback from staff by:
    1. Formally organising frequent staff meetings (online or face-to-face), and define an agenda for each meeting covering all key issues.
    2. Documenting (as briefly as possible) the issues covered and decisions taken.
  3. Collect student feedback as an integral part of the activities of the course. This should include:
    1. Collection of student feedback during the run of the course
      Encourage students (online or face-to-face) to reflect at predefined moments about their own learning and how the course design, materials and activities supports their learning.
    2. Collection of student feedback at the end of the course
      In designing a survey consider: question design (closed /open questions, number of questions and topics, relevance, and language use), mode of application (online or a paper based questionnaire) and timing.
      Ensure that responsibility for collection and analysis of results is clearly assigned.
  4. Consider the use of additional strategies to collect feedback taking advantage of the technology in use in the course (e.g. the statistics on course use thatVLEs provide).
  5. Consider all relevant aspects of the use of technology in teaching and learning in the course. This might include collecting feedback on:
    1. Quality, usefulness and frequency of use of the different course components (online activities, face-to-face events, readings, online discussions, tutor support, technical support, etc)
    2. How well the online activities run (timing, frequency, sequence, instructions, interactions, feedback, time on task, etc.)
    3. E-learning experience (workload, involvement, online participation facilitators and obstacles, etc.)
    4. Role of tutors (engagement, feedback, support, etc.)


Suggestion of what is best or recommended practice when wanting to evaluate an e-learning course.
Overview of research practices in relation to evaluation generally, including some case studies and how this might apply what and how you plan to evaluate.




The following page Course Evaluation Revisted covers the subject of evaluation in more detail.