Evaluation Method: Tools For Teachers & Coaches
The first thing we did when examining eLearning platforms was evaluate several eLearning tools for use by teachers and coaches.
This has a different methodology than evaluating learning tools for academia. While in academia the focus is on trying to get the most complete package that can give students a total experience, for teachers and coaches this is not the case. They will mostly be working individually, and the programs we tested are tested with that in mind.
Our primary goal in evaluating these specific tools was to discover which one had the greatest ease of use.
Teachers and coaches working individually will not have the same amount of time to learn and prepare lessons that academia has, or that many teachers working together will have. As such, we decided to focus on systems that are extremely easy to use, as ranked in our table from easiest to use to most difficult to use.
We wanted to discover which tool promotes the fastest learning of students. However, we also wanted to promote the fastest, most rapid deployment for teachers. The faster that teachers can learn to use the eLearning platforms, the faster and better they’ll be able to communicate those lessons to their students.
We also wanted to test for the user experience of the students. Once again, students are all too ready to disengage from a learning experience at any time. By making certain that they are active and engaged in the foundation of an eLearning platform, we made certain to check which ones are the most suitable for teachers and coaches to use when working individually.
When we measured the ease of use on these products, we looked at several different parts of the eLearning tools:
For the video portion, we made certain to let our student volunteers watch every video lesson that an eLearning tool had to offer. They were rated on how interesting they were to the teachers and students, as well as the quality of information provided in a certain amount of time.
For many, audio learning is more difficult than video learning, which combines visual and aural learning. For that reason, it was especially important to us to make certain that the audio portions of every lesson were engaging and interesting to students, no matter the level of the students who were evaluating the program.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from audio sources are text sources. However, students famously get bored with reading text over and over again, and are wont to let their attentions wander. Because of this, we made certain to test each student on the text sources. We tested for enjoyment, for ease of learning, for comprehension, and for whether the text was actually interesting and relevant to the subject.
- Web Sources
Research is only as good as the source. One of the best things about eLearning platforms is the way they are able to integrate with the entire information matrix of the Internet. Access to the Internet can be a huge boon to learners, as there is a great deal of information available there that is inaccessible in any other way to most people. However, as any teacher knows, students rely entirely too much on the Internet to make everything easy. There are many web sources, some of them used by surprisingly reputable companies, that make use of misinformation and sensationalism in order to generate more traffic.
We made certain that all the web pages sourced in these eLearning software packages and platforms used only quality, reliable web sources.
For our methodology, we used ten students for each platform. These students not only gave input on whether a course was interesting, easy, and effective, but also took the courses themselves.
We rated each course on how long it took for a student to finish the course in its entirety. While that was not the only criteria we used to determine which eLearning platforms we preferred, the fact that students could complete a course quickly weighed immensely as a positive in favor of the course.
While speed isn’t the most important part of a program, part of the beauty of eLearning programs is the ability for students and teachers to get through a large volume of information at once. By providing a platform through which students can learn quickly and effectively, an eLearning program can seriously aid student, teachers, and coaches in furthering educational standards, as well as improving the quality of education for everyone. The measure of how fast students completed courses was a large factor in our evaluations.