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Investigating the praxis of evaluating small-scale learning and teaching projects in higher education

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:41 authored by Elaine Huber
Small-scale learning and teaching projects in higher education have the potential to drive innovation. However, a lack of systemic evaluation can inhibit the realisation and sustainability of these innovations and there is limited literature available to illuminate these evaluation practices. The broad aim of this study was to investigate the praxis of evaluating small-scale learning and teaching projects in higher education. A pragmatic, multiphase research design, underpinned by action research and case study methodologies was used for the study, drawing on reflection to understand what works and what does not work in small-scale project evaluation practice. The study was undertaken in three-phases across two Australian metropolitan universities using primary data. These data include the project documentation, reflective field notes, one-on-one interviews, and focus group discussions with university staff responsible for leading small-scale learning and teaching projects. My research reveals that a project leader's perception and conceptualisation of evaluation have important implications for practice. The research also highlights the need for an approach to the evaluation of small-scale learning and teaching projects that requires tailored resources including evidence-based frameworks to enable praxis. Outputs from this research include a new evidence-based evaluation-planning framework, SPELT (Small Project Evaluation in Learning and Teaching), and a set of recommendations for effective evaluation strategies for small-scale learning and teaching projects in higher education.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. A critique of the literature on evaluation of learning and teaching projects in higher education -- Chapter 3. Research design and methods -- Chapter 4. How are small-scale learning and teaching projects evaluated in higher education?-- Chapter 5. A deep dive into small-scale project evaluation in higher education -- Chapter 6. Developing the SPELT (small project evaluation in learning and teaching) framework -- Chapter 7. Reflecting on the findings and making recommendations -- Chapter 8. Conclusion -- References -- Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 243-244 Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Educational Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Educational Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Marina Harvey


Copyright Elaine Huber 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




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