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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How Do You Measure Transfer?

photo by shareski

If you are designing PD (esp Online)
"How are you measuring transfer?"
"How are you seeing the classroom change?"
"We don't want to see whether you can play "school" more interested in whether or not your classroom has changed because of the learning?"
"How can you show me your classroom is different because of course "x"?"

This was from a conversation with my executive director this week, and I can’t stop thinking about the back and forth.  We can agree that accessing the learning, and “proving” the learning in traditional sense is not an option for us.
Don't fall in the trap of expecting or asking teachers to "do school" they know how to do that, they're teachers, if all they are doing is commenting on discussion boards, or are missing a big piece.
Is the learning changing their practice and classroom?
if so how...
What evidence is there?
Does listening and interacting via webinar on classroom20 develop you professionally? Did listening to Don Tapscott talk about millenials and the digital generation, change the way you looked at your classroom..if so let’s have that discussion...if not, then what will?
Measuring transfer and changing your practice is hard...often times however playing school and “earning” credts is not.

You’ve taken in-seat and online courses...did your practice change, if so, how, and what would quantify/qualify that statement?


Eric Townsley said...

This is tough. Trust is so important when dealing with teaching and learning. We teachers must follow through and demonstrate to visitors in our classrooms. We must foster the trust from administrators and community members.

Chris Craft said...

If you're going to talk transfer, it may be helpful to delineate that a bit. Transfer is usually divided into two areas, near transfer and far transfer.

Near transfer is using a learned skill or knowledge in a similar situation.

Far transfer is using a learned skill or knowledge in a markedly different situation.

Before you can answer the question of how to measure transfer you must answer the question as to what your goal of learning is. Without that, there is no transfer.

For example, if I want to teach you to search the web. Near transfer would be watching you search Google for a similar search topic that I handed you.

Far transfer would be you visiting a meta-search engine and searching multiple sites and analyzing the results.

I think all too often we go into PD events without a clear goal in mind. Perhaps we'd benefit from more clearly articulating our goals? Not being in PD, I can't say for sure.


Michael Wacker said...

@Chris Craft
That is a great point, I remember you mentioning that in your presentation at Educon. What we are measuring is the far transfer of changing classroom practice I think.
As far as you not being in PD you are selling yourself short, every tutorial you create, every presentation you give, every time you prompt someone to think critically (like you just did to me) you are in PD :) And, if you fall in love with Colorado (you will) I know a district that would be LUCKY to have you. :)

@Eric Townsley I am starting to think more and more that the only way to truly measure effectiveness r any transfer for teacher professional learning (PD) is via observation.
Thanks to both of you guys for giving more to think about!