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Cambridge LibGuides

Tools for Teaching

The right tool for the right job

There are many ways to approach evaluating your teaching and training, some of which are reflected in the tools in this LibGuide. Before setting out however, it is worth considering the following:

Do you have the capacity to conduct a structured evaluation of your session or programme?

Think about the time and resource necessary to plan and conduct the evaluation and to analyse the data you gather, as well as the capacity you have to make changes based on what you discover.

Think about the nature of the teaching or training you wish to evaluate

This will have implications for your chosen approach and methods. Considerations might include:

  1. Size of student group: if you are delivering a lecture to 50 students a light-touch approach (show of hands, sticky notes for feedback, in-session questions) may be enough to provide actionable insight. If you are conducting 1-to-1 sessions or small workshops you may wish to consider a more in-depth, qualitative approach.
  2. Nature and format of teaching delivery: if you are delivering a class online you may be able to incorporate elements of evaluation into your planning using digital tools. If you are teaching in a physical classroom you may be able to take a more interactive, in-person approach.
  3. The relationship you have with your students: students attending a one-off session may feel less inclined to engage with more in-depth evaluation activities, whereas students you have seen and got to know over an academic year or programme of sessions may feel more invested.

What do you want to learn?

  • Are you interested in how the mechanics of the session went? For example to set up of the room, the technology used to deliver the content?
  • Are you focused on understanding whether students have learned what you wanted them to, or whether they would have liked to have seen different or adapted content covered?

As well as informing the questions you ask students during evaluation, this may also inform how you ask those questions, i.e. your chosen methodology and tools.

The diagram below illustrates situations in which different approaches to evaluation might be appropriate, however this is indicative only; your understanding of your students and what you want to learn about through evaluation should inform your approach.

Text equivalent included for accessibility.

Diagram showing situations where different approaches to evaluation might be suitable. Text version of content included below.

 

Small group of students, focus on mechanics of session = light-touch approach

Large group of students, focus on mechanics of session = light-touch approach

Small group of students, focus on student learning = in-depth approach

Large group of students, focus on student learning = light-touch approach

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