Sunday, May 15, 2016

Halfway - Time to Evaluate #My500Words #232

"Believe you can and your halfway there" 
Theodore Roosevelt

Image Source: Economy Watch.

It's Day 15 of the Jeffs Goins 500 word challenge and for today he asks us to evaluate how we are getting on and to "share how you're feeling and what this challenge has meant to you so far". So far I have written about food, lists, persuasion, my day, an alternative me, and a letter to my five-year old self. Much of this is stuff I would not have blogged about before, or even thought about writing. Some items such as telling someone else's were particularly difficult to come up with an idea to write about. Every post I had ever written in this blog was of my own choosing - it's very different to commit to writing under the instruction of someone else. It's a bit like being back in school getting homework every day. This is a good discipline. In a way I feel a bit of a cheat because I had wanted to wirite a blog post every day during 2016. But this challenge is doing much more for me than making up 31 of my 366 posts.

The whole idea of the Goins challenge is for writers to improve. I'm guessing that most of the people who take up this challenge either are or want to be writers. Maybe some of them will use their 500 words in their stories or novels. Am I a better writer, or a worse one? I don't think I am any different as far as quality of writing is concerned. While I have written, and will write more, about things I wouldn't have normally done - I find some of what I have done to be trivial and of little value from a content point of view. It certainly broadens the mind to consider writing about something other than education, travel, reviews, and personal stuff that I usually write about. 

Reflection and evaluation is an important part of learning. When we learn something in class or in training We need to be able to put it to good use. If you ask yourself two simple question after a class:
  1. What have I learned?
  2. How will I use what I have learned?
Evaluation enables us to determine the quality, effectiveness, and continuous improvement of learning, understand the pros and cons of learning, and make improvements (Pappas, 2012). Otherwise what is the point of learning. Evaluation occurs before, during, and after learning. Before the class we plan for learning as a form of needs assessment. During learning there will be formative evaluation, through he likes of continuous assessment, to make the improvements. After the class we assess the learning with summative evaluation to determine outcomes. I know that many of my students study modules that they don't like, and methods they will never use. For example, will any of my students in my Statistics classes ever perform an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)? Clearly the important thing here is that students understand that data varies, and that this variation can be measured. I'd hate to think that students would come to my class and never use anything learned in class! But if they evaluate what they learn in a constructive way - I hope they will have got something of of the class.

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