Lone Star College Adult Education Program Analysis

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Lone Star College

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You will imagine you have been chosen to conduct an outcomes-based evaluation of an adult education program, specifically the instructional approaches and engagement strategies, in an organization of your choice.

In an analysis paper, you will provide an overview of the organization, the adult education program, the student and program outcomes, and the instruments used to measure the outcomes.  
 

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Module 1: Outcomes-Based Program Evaluation Part 4 Transcript: Steps in Conducting a Needs Assessment NOTES Often, our hunches about the needs of adult learners are accurate. They occur because we see “patterns, trends, and common cause-and-effect relationships” in the day-to-day experiences of our organizations (McGoldrick & Tobey, 2016). However, hunches cannot constitute program evaluation. Program evaluations must begin with needs assessments. Needs assessments can be classified as either extensive or intensive. An extensive needs assessment strives to address all aspects of the organization or all dimensions of the professional workplace. An intensive needs assessment seeks to rank needs in terms of priority. Both extensive and intensive needs assessments can be useful in planning and evaluating adult learning programs. Generally, extensive needs assessments will have more breadth and less depth, and intensive needs assessments will have less breadth and more depth. The type of needs assessment that is employed in a program evaluation depends on the kind of information an organization might seek to gain from the process. The most common extensive needs assessment is known as a SWOT analysis. The acronym SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths are the aspects of the organization that are going well, are deemed successful, or are qualities of public notoriety. Weaknesses are aspects of the organization that need improvement or are areas of concern; this is generally where the problems are situated. Opportunities are potential tasks, projects, or business endeavors that can enhance the organization's mission. Finally, Threats are internal or external factors that can subvert the organization's mission or cause a negative impact on the bottom line. A SWOT analysis is extensive because it takes all four of these factors into consideration. It is not necessarily an intensive needs assessment because it may not rank these items in terms of priority. However, when conducting an intensive needs assessment, these categories can be used to establish priority (McGoldrick & Tobey, 2016): © 2017 American College of Education 1 NOTES Business Needs are related to the overall organization; these needs are often derived from a SWOT analysis. Performance Needs are related to the outputs of the product or service rendered. In a school environment, these needs are often expressed in terms of student achievement measures. Learning Needs are the knowledge and skills that adult learners may need to acquire to meet particular outcomes. Learner Needs are aspects of the program related to the environment and access to learning specific to the adult learners who will participate. These four needs can be subsequently ranked in order of priority to determine which needs are either most urgent or most feasible for the organization. Higher priority needs should be addressed first in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the learning program. Generally, a comprehensive needs analysis should include these steps (McGoldrick & Tobey, 2016): Step 1. Conduct an extensive SWOT assessment. Step 2. Conduct an intensive needs assessment to identify performance, learning, and learner needs. Step 3. Analyze the data. a. Identify key data: gaps in performance, skills, and knowledge. b. Identify recommendations. Step 4. Design a potential professional development program to meet the needs. Step 5. Deliver and evaluate the program. If you have conducted a thorough needs assessment, you can explicitly state that the stated outcomes of learning program were based on a thorough needs assessment of the organization and the adult learners involved and not merely on a hunch. Such an approach provides credibility to the program and the evaluation process. © 2017 American College of Education 2 Module 1: Outcomes-Based Program Evaluation Part 2 Transcript: Outcomes-Based Program Evaluation NOTES Outcomes are the impacts that an organization has on people, processes, or services. Outcomes are sometimes different than goals or objectives because the outcome of a particular program may be different than the stated goal. Goal-based program evaluations focus on measuring whether or not stated goals have been accomplished. Process-based program evaluations focus on determining how a program works, often in terms of what is required of the learners. Goal and process-based evaluations differ from outcomes-based evaluations by focusing more on the outputs of a program than on the inputs. The process of conducting an outcomes-based assessment usually entails these steps: First, identify the outcomes in relation to the organization's mission. By answering the "why" question of a professional development program, you can usually quickly identify the intended outcomes. Outcomes often derive from a carefully designed needs assessment. Next, select and prioritize specific outcomes for evaluation. Although there may be a wide range of outcomes from which to choose, it is important to focus on those most critical to your organization. For each outcome, specify the observable measures or indicators. How will you know if the learning program had its intended impact? Is it measurable? Specify target goals based on the measurable outcomes. For example, do you want to see a particular measure increase or decrease by a specified percentage? Do you want to see the adult learners achieve a certain threshold on a particular measure? © 2017 American College of Education 1 NOTES Determine how to realistically gather information relevant to the outcomes. From which sources will you gather the information to make the measurements? Analyze the findings. Report the findings to your relevant audiences. Reflect on the findings, and make decisions or changes accordingly. Program evaluations are only as valid as the measures upon which they are based. Unreliable measures of outcomes produced unreliable and flawed program evaluations (McNeil, 2011). It is important to remember that adult learners want to be part of the process of formulating and determining the outcomes of a professional development program. Andragogical theorists argue that adults learn best when they feel like their learning is self-directed (Petty & Thomas, 2014). To ensure that adult learners feel like they are part of the process, it is important to include them in a needs assessment as part of the program design. © 2017 American College of Education 2 Module 1: Outcomes-Based Program Evaluation Part 3 Transcript: The Importance of Conducting a Needs Assessment NOTES Any sound professional development program must be grounded in the needs of adult learners and formulated in light of adult leaning methodologies. To determine the specific needs of adult learners in a workplace context, we must first conduct a needs assessment. A needs assessment must begin with identifying problems. Adult learners desire solutions-oriented learning that helps them solve problems they face in the context of their professional lives and in the reality of the workplace. When conducting a needs assessment, it is important to distinguish between wants and needs. Wants may be things that adults desire to learn but may not be immediately applicable to their professional problems. Needs, on the other hand, describe knowledge and skills that will help adult learners solve such problems. A needs assessment may be expressed in terms of a gap analysis whereby the ideal situation is contrasted with the real situation. The gap between what is ideal and what is real aids the process of identifying needs versus wants. Needs are the gaps between the ideal and the real. When they are addressed, they should nudge reality closer to its ideal state and facilitate problem solving. The solutions to the problems are the outcomes to which the program is pointing, which are, in turn, the needs of the organization. © 2017 American College of Education 1 Module 1: Outcomes-Based Program Evaluation Part 1 Transcript: What Is Program Evaluation? NOTES Adult learning is often situated in the context of the workplace. In this environment, adult learning programs are referred to as professional development programs, namely, because they are intended to improve the professional efficacy of adult learners. When evaluating instructional programs for adult learners, we are talking about evaluating post-secondary academic programs, including professional development. Program evaluation entails a measurement of the extent to which specific outcomes of an adult learning program have been met. Program evaluation is not about measuring success or failure of individuals or an organization. It is about measuring the extent to which stated outcomes have been met and the extent to which learning has occurred in ways that lead to meaningful professional development. Implicitly, a welldesigned professional development program should lead to positive outcomes that directly and commensurately impact the mission of an organization. Ultimately, program evaluation is about carefully collecting and analyzing information for the purposes of decision making. The process may involve a variety of assessments, including those related to accreditation, cost-benefits analysis, measures of efficiency, and any other relevant details you might need to learn about the program. Too often, professional development and adult learning programs rely solely on the instincts and passions of leaders or the thrust of an organization's mission, but they lack the formal process for evaluating the effectiveness of that mission. Instead of assessing programs on a trial-and-error basis, well-designed program evaluations can help organizations determine whether or not specific outcomes have been met. © 2017 American College of Education 1
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Adult Education Program
I.
II.

Palm Beach State College (PBSC)
Palm Beach State College Education Opportunity Center

III.

Student and Program Outcomes

IV.

The Instruments Used to Measure the Outcomes

V.
VI.

Numerical Data Which Can Be Used to Determine the Need
Steps You Will Use to Carry Out the Program Evaluation


1

Adult Education Program

Name
Institutional Affiliation
Date

2
Palm Beach State College (PBSC)
Palm Beach State College (PBSC) is one famous public college in the US that produces
skilled graduates. Currently, the institution enrolls approximately 49,000 students and offers
more than a hundred programs of study, including an associate in science, associate in arts s,
bachelor in applied science, and others. Besides, the program offers short courses in
management, certificates, vocational courses, as well as continuing education. The institution
was established in 1933 as Palm Junior College, and it was the first public junior college in
Florida. Although the institution offers other causes, it is committed to adult and community
education programs. With the growing increase in the number of adults without necessary work
skills, technological skills, and other important knowledge to help them in their lives. To help
people who are aged 19 years and above, the institutions have collaborated with the Florida state
government to provide Education Opportunity Center (EOC). Through this program, PBSC
equips knowledge and relevant skills to individuals aged 19 years and above.
Palm Beach State College Education Opportunity Center
PBSC is among the institutions in the United States that focuses on providing adult
education programs. According to the institution, the EOC program is 100 percent funded by the
US department of education at PBSC. Through this adult education program, PBSC focuses on
providing a second chance for people in the society who are disadvantaged or poor and have lost
education access for other reasons to achieve equal access to education or social justice. The
program focuses on providing the following roles. First, it offers assistance with applying for
financial aid. Therefore, this area focuses on helping adult people understanding the financial aid
process. Secondly, it helps them learn more about government loans, scholarships, and grants. It

3
also focuses on helping the client complete the free application for federal student Aid (FAFSA).
Lastly, it helps the adult students in reconciling the defaulted student loans.
Secondly, the program helps the learners with career counseling. It offers an opportunity
for adult learners to identify their passion and the career they are more likely to pursue. It helps
adults to determine careers that are growing in job availability. It allows the learners to evaluate
minimum educational requirements.
Thirdly, the program equips adult learners with financial and technological literacy.
Ideally, most adult’s patient lacks financial and technological skills. Therefore, the program
offers s...


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