I have read with interest the different inquiry paradigms and evaluation models. It is probably fair to say that I often steer away from anything that may have ‘quantitative’ in the title as I do not see myself as a numbers person or the reliance on measuring, variables and the analysis of relationships among statistical information, although this is changing slightly as a number of my colleagues along with our research director within the school are being put through our paces of a quantitative refresher course.
I can relate more to the constructivist-hermeneutic-interpretivist-qualitative paradigm, as it allows for the emphasis on the human being as a primary evaluation instrument and some of the methods used such as observation draw on this.
However, despite this, I also have to think about the task at hand and as I am not involved with a eLearning course at the moment and the courses I teach are all F2F, I will need to look at a needs assessment as part of my evaluation for this course.
I also need to re-visit the eLearning guidelines and look further at which will be more suited to my project.
I am veering towards the eclectic-mixed methods-pragmatic paradigm which is capable of handling the complexity of contemporary society and technology Casti, 1994; Pascale, Millerman & Goja, 2000; Sedgwick, 1993 as cited in Reeves & Hedberg, 2003). By drawing on multiple perspectives this allows a variety of evaluation methods to be used and also the ‘pragmatic’ aspect reflects the practical orientation that may be used and if it does not work the first time you can only try again. This paradigm allows a flexible approach to the design, delivery and evaluation of interactive learning systems (Reeves & Hedberg, 2003) and also allows researchers to adopt different perspectives and theoretical approaches depending on the practical needs of a project. One of the strengths of this approach is there are no ‘right’ approaches and maintaining an open approach is essential. This paradigm should offer a pragmatic way of conceptualising evaluation design.
Reeves, T. C., & Hedberg, J. C. (2003). Interactive Learning Systems Evaluation. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.