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DNP 825 Topic 7 Discussion Question One
DNP 825 Topic 7 Discussion Question One
Provide an overview of the program evaluation model and health promotion theory you will use in your proposed community project. Explain your rationale for your choices?
Program evaluation is an essential responsibility for anyone overseeing a
medical education program. A ‘program’ may be as small as an individual
class session, a course, or a clerkship rotation in medical school or it may be as
large as the whole of an educational program. The ‘program’ might be situated
in a medical school, during postgraduate training, or throughout continuing
professional development. All such programs deserve a strong evaluation
plan. Several detailed and well written articles, guides, and textbooks about
educational program evaluation provide overviews and focus on the ‘how to’
of program evaluation (Woodward, 2002; Goldie, 2006; Musick, 2006; Durning et
al., 2007; Frechtling, 2007; Stufflebeam & Shinkfield, 2007; Hawkins & Holmboe,
2008; Cook, 2010; Durning & Hemmer, 2010; Patton, 2011). Medical educators
should be familiar with these and have some of them available as resources.
This Guide will be most helpful for medical educators who wish to familiarize
themselves with the theoretical bases for common program evaluation
approaches so that they can make informed evaluation choices. Educators
engaged in program development or examining an existing educational
program will find that understanding theoretical principles related to common
evaluation models will help them be more creative and effective evaluators.
Similar gains will apply when an education manager engages an external
evaluator or is helping to evaluate someone else’s program. Our hope is that
this Guide’s focus on several key educational evaluation models in the context
of their related theories will enrich all educators’ work.
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A focus on change
We believe that educational programs are fundamentally about change. Most
persons participating in educational programs – including learners, teachers,
administrators, other health professionals, and a variety of internal and external
stakeholders – do so because they are interested in change. While a program’s
focus on change is perhaps most evident for learners, everyone else involved
with that program also participates in change. Therefore, effective program
evaluation should focus, at least in part, on change: Is change occurring? What
is the nature of the change? Is the change deemed ‘successful’? This focus
directs that program evaluation should look for both intended and unintended
changes associated with the program. An educational program itself is rarely
static, so an evaluation plan must be designed to feed information back
to guide the program’s continuing development. In that way, the program
evaluation becomes an integral part of the educational change process.
In the past, educational program evaluation practices often assumed a simple
linear (cause-effect) perspective when assessing program elements and
outcomes. More recent evaluation scholarship describes educational programs
as complex systems with nonlinear relationships between their elements and
program-related changes. Program evaluation practices now being advocated
account for that complexity. We hope that this Guide will help readers: (1)
become aware of how best to study the complex change processes inherent
in any educational program, and (2) understand how appreciating program
complexity and focusing on change-related outcomes in their evaluation
processes will strengthen their work.
At the most fundamental level, evaluation involves making a value judgment
about information that one has available (Cook, 2010; Durning & Hemmer,
2010). Thus educational program evaluation uses information to make a
decision about the value or worth of an educational program (Cook, 2010).
More formally defined, the process of educational program evaluation is
the “systematic collection and analysis of information related to the design,
implementation, and outcomes of a program, for the purpose of monitoring
and improving the quality and effectiveness of the program.” (ACGME, 2010a)
As is clear in this definition, program evaluation is about understanding the
program through a routine, systematic, deliberate gathering of information to
uncover and/or identify what contributes to the ‘success’ of the program and
what actions need to be taken in order to address the findings of the evaluation
process (Durning & Hemmer, 2010). In other words, program evaluation tries
to identify the sources of variation in program outcomes both from within and
outside the program, while determining whether these sources of variation or
even the outcome itself are desirable or undesirable. The model used to define
the evaluation process shapes that work.
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