Sunday, June 25, 2023

Teaching Techniques: ADDIE - Post-Class Evaluation (E)

From needs analysis, curriculum design, and lesson plan development, the instructor has finally finished teaching a course. Is it time to dust off and walk away after the teaching? Of course not, there's one more crucial step left: the post-course evaluation. Through post-course satisfaction evaluations, instructors can understand where they've done well and where improvements can be made for next time. To better execute course evaluations, here are some suggestions on evaluation methods and practices:

1. Choose appropriate evaluation items

Some course evaluations only ask a single question: "Are you satisfied with today's activities?" Some evaluations, on the other hand, have countless items, so many that people are disinclined to fill them out. It's recommended to limit the number of evaluation items to 10-15 questions; anything more may result in distorted evaluations (participants fill in the questions randomly). Furthermore, you should include the following two major questions:

"Overall, are you satisfied with today's course?" Use this item to detect overall satisfaction, rather than just calculating the total or average of each small item to determine overall satisfaction.

"Would you recommend this course to your colleagues in the future?" This question measures the likelihood of recommendation. According to Harvard Business Review research, satisfied customers may not necessarily recommend a product or service; however, those who would recommend it are definitely satisfied. This is one of the important indicators.

Therefore, choosing the right number of questions and the correct indicators is one of the key points to consider when conducting post-course satisfaction surveys.

2. Choose the appropriate measurement scale

Common post-course satisfaction surveys typically utilize a five-point scale (Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Neutral, Dissatisfied, Very Dissatisfied). However, there are also ten-point scales or score-based responses. In fact, different indicators will yield different results. For attitude measures like satisfaction, using a five-point scale is usually a better choice. You'll find that most formal research surveys (such as Masters and Doctoral theses) also use a five-point scale, with only a few adopting a seven-point scale (in theory verification scenarios). As for the ten-point scale... it's rarely used in formal research. It's recommended to use a five-point scale as it can better measure students' true reactions.

3. High self-standards

Some people think that a satisfaction score of 4.0(converted to a percentage, that's 80%) is already pretty good. Personally, I suggest that internal lecturers should aim for at least 4.3(which translates to 86% on a percentage scale), and strive to reach 4.5(90%). A score of 4.5 indicates that half of the students were very satisfied, while the other half were satisfied. That's the standard you, as educators, should be striving for. Don't get excited when you see a score of 4.0; that implies that many people think the course was just average (those who would score it below 4.0). Holding yourself to high standards is the key to continual self-improvement!

4. Value open-ended responses

Besides scores, instructors should also value the feedback and comments written by learners. These are more important than scores as they provide specific insights into learners' thoughts. Instructors should not only value these responses but also encourage learners to provide feedback at the end of the course, emphasizing that this feedback is the best basis for improving future courses. Instructors should actively seek responses from learners. Furthermore, instructors should reflect on how to improve based on these opinions. While everyone may have different perspectives on teaching, it is important to consider how we can make improvements to become even better.

5. Self-reflection and self-assessment

The evaluations given by your learners are just external assessments. As the instructor standing in front of the class, how do you perceive your own performance? Take a moment to reflect on your teaching process and give yourself an honest evaluation. How would you rate your own performance? This is not for anyone else's sake but to give yourself an opportunity to improve and excel in the future. Of course, remember to also take note of the aspects where you performed well and aim to maintain that level next time.

After teaching for so long, at the end of each course, I always immediately review the post-course satisfaction surveys. My personal standard for course satisfaction is a perfect score of 5! I have set my own definition for it, calling it a "Perfect Course." Achieving a Perfect Course is much more challenging than most people imagine. It requires not only doing everything right in class but doing it exceptionally well! Even then, it doesn't guarantee a perfect score! Throughout an entire year, I have only received eight perfect feedback scores (2013). However, because of this high self-expectation, even without a perfect score, my average remains at 4.7 to 4.8 (95 or above). And every day, I continue to strive for constant improvement in my performance. That is the true goal of post-course evaluation.

If I have any exceptional teaching experiences (or speaking engagements), I personally keep a record of those experiences (as human memory is unreliable). Through these records, I can identify areas where I performed well and areas that need improvement for the next time. Course evaluations are simply tools for self-improvement. When you continuously and consistently strive for self-improvement, you will be amazed at your own growth after some time!

Keep up the great work, dedicated internal instructors! You're doing a fantastic job!

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