The E in the original ADDIE refers to Evaluation, which we have already discussed in terms of learning outcomes and teaching effectiveness. However, based on my experience as a professional instructor for over 10 years, I believe that the greatest growth for teachers does not come from evaluation. Evaluation only reflects the results, and the results cannot be changed. What truly makes a course better is through continuous evolution in each class, improving teaching quality over time. When the course improves, evaluations and outcomes naturally follow suit, creating a positive cycle.
So how can we ensure continuous evolution in our courses? One commonly used method is the After Action Review (AAR). Here are the detailed steps for conducting an AAR, which I provide as a reference:
After Action Review (AAR) - Post-Class Evaluation
I have a file documenting post-class evaluations since 2010, accumulating nearly 30,000 words to date. The first post-class evaluation was written as follows:
Date: 2010/07/15, Location: Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Topic: Presentation Skills
Summary: Score: 85. Learner response was somewhat lukewarm. Time management was inadequate. Positive aspect: Innovative sticky note teaching method.
First session: 08:40-09:40. The opening felt a bit cold. One-minute exercises were okay, thought it would warm up, but then it cooled down again.
Second session: 09:50-11:00. The main area for improvement. Shouldn't use too many examples from business presentations (should be more concise). Focus should be on medical presentations. Noticed learners were getting tired. Should provide breaks at appropriate times...
After two weeks, I wrote the following:
Date: 7/28, Location: Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Topic: Presentation Skills
Overall assessment: Learner response was very good. Showed a new video and addressed the previous shortcomings.
Improvements: Made a slight mistake in the opening. Forgot the five key points. Didn't use post-it notes today.
1:38-2:38. Time allocation: Completed the first hour with one minute per person. The beginning felt quite good. Also, discussed common issues with slides before raising hands. Took a 10-minute break...
By engaging in these AARs and regularly documenting my experiences, I continuously improve my performance. Course evaluation serves as a tool for self-improvement. When you consistently strive to enhance yourself, you will be amazed at your growth.
Keep up the good work, internal instructors!
Time fast-forwards to the present, and the most recent post-class evaluation I wrote was just a few days ago. Here are the details:
Date: September 8, 2018
Topic: "Hands-On" Project - Artisanal Speaking
- Scoring mechanism: It was determined that points would only be awarded for active participation and providing answers. This criterion should be clearly communicated.
- Introduction: The introduction went well.
- Time management: There is room for improvement in adhering to the allotted time. It is important to stay within the designated time frame.
- Discussion time: The discussion time should be condensed further, aiming for concise responses within approximately 10 seconds.
- Timer: It would be beneficial to have a visible timer to help manage and monitor the allotted time.
Continuously conducting post-class evaluations allows for ongoing improvement and ensures the refinement of teaching techniques. By addressing specific areas of focus identified in each evaluation, we can strive for even better results in future classes. Remember, the goal is to create a captivating and impactful learning experience for all participants.
Stay committed to growth and keep up the excellent work!
Key Points for AAR Implementation
From these three authentic AAR post-class evaluations, I wonder if you noticed the key points I wanted to convey:
1. AAR is for improvement
AAR is not about reviewing or discussing accountability because it is written for your own reference! You can see that in the second class I taught at Taichung Veterans General Hospital in 2010, I improved upon the issues from the first class. And in the recent "Hands-On" project speech, I brought a timer, improved scoring and time management, and managed to finish the last slide just as the timer went off! (What a coincidence!)
2. Conduct AAR within two days
I have a habit of immediately recording the AAR on my way back after teaching a class. Honestly, I'm not the most meticulous person when it comes to note-taking. I couldn't tell you how many days I taught or how many students I had this year (Hats off to Hsien-ge for being so organized). However, I hold myself accountable to document my own state and the issues after significant teaching moments. Don't overestimate your memory; you must write it down within two days (I keep all my notes in the same file, accumulating them in any format) to truly remember! Otherwise, it will just pass, and the same issues will likely recur without any improvements.
3. See yourself clearly
As a teacher, the deeper you examine your teaching process, the greater the potential for improvement in the future! I want to reiterate that it's not about criticizing yourself or being perpetually self-critical (that would be too miserable). It's about honestly facing your own performance! Acknowledge and praise yourself for the parts done well. Record the areas that need improvement and think about how to enhance them next time. It's about being objective, avoiding excessive judgment or emotional reactions.
Remember, the purpose of AAR is to facilitate growth and development as a teacher. By implementing these practices, you can continuously enhance your teaching skills and create more effective learning experiences for your students.
Keep up the great work and stay committed to self-improvement!
A few years ago, due to the rewards system in Hsien-Fu's private tutoring classes, I had the opportunity to serve as a teaching coach for a teacher. I observed him teach for a full day and asked him afterwards, "How do you think you performed?" His response was, "I feel like the students weren't very cooperative!" "This isn't a subject I excel in!" "This topic is difficult to teach!"
Unfortunately, from my perspective as an outsider, my observations were completely opposite! I found the students to be highly cooperative, willingly participating even after a long day of somewhat challenging instruction. And if it wasn't a subject the teacher excelled in, why take it on in the first place? In just a few minutes, I adjusted the sequence of the activities he was already using for the "difficult-to-teach" lesson, and it transformed into a smooth, engaging learning experience. He nodded along, still searching for more explanations...
As a teacher, I believe that ultimately, you are the one who can provide the most valuable feedback and opportunities for improvement. Therefore, it is crucial to make good use of the "E" in ADDIE, which stands for Evaluation & Evolution. This allows you to accurately assess student learning and reflect on your own teaching performance. Most importantly, after each teaching session, conduct an AAR review to ensure continuous growth and improvement. This is the key to making your courses better and better over time!
Remember, the ability to evaluate yourself and seek opportunities for improvement lies within you as a teacher. Embrace the power of Evaluation & Evolution, and engage in AAR reflections to continually enhance your teaching skills. This is the true essence of creating exceptional courses!
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