Investigating the praxis of evaluating small-scale learning and teaching projects in higher education
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 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.