From Evaluation to Sensemaking: Emergent Development of a Masters Distance Learning Research Methods Module

Palitha Edirisingha, Phil Wood, University of Leicester, United Kingdom


Evaluation of student learning is ever more important in higher education today, due to managerial reasons as well as a genuine interest among teachers to improve students’ learning. Such module evaluation is generally carried out using end-of-module/semester questionnaires. While these evaluation tools may capture some reflections of student learning, they are often poorly focused, and rely wholly on summative perspectives which are captured at a point remote to the learning process itself. This paper reports on an initial investigation centring on developing a formative framework for evaluating distance learning modules. It is distinguished from typical summative questionnaire evaluations by the collection of live feedback from students as they undertake a module, allowing for insight and feedforward to develop materials as students undertake the module. This is achieved by using a modified version of an approach called “Lesson Study”, a collaborative planning and evaluation tool which originated in Japan (Lewis et al, 2009). The evaluation framework that we develop here is centred on the notion of sensemaking (Weivk, 1995).

Keywords: Distance Learning, Emergent Evaluation, Sense Making, Lesson Study, Module Evaluation, Research Methods.

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e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, MOOCs, ICT, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, interaction, learning management system, LMS,

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