From proof of concept to evidence of impact: towards a principled approach to evaluating learning design tools

Liz Masterman

Keywords: Learning Design, Learning Designer, evaluation, impact

The increasing maturity of learning design tools means that it is no longer sufficient to evaluate them merely according to the criterion of ‘proof of concept’. Rather, we now need to demonstrate their effectiveness in helping teachers to improve their design practice and, ultimately, students’ learning. This chapter draws on the experience of designing the evaluation of the Learning Designer software, in order to map out the issues in developing a theory-informed evaluation framework. It begins with a brief description of the project and its objective to have an impact on teachers’ design practice, and then explores the principles that have guided the formulation of the evaluation framework. Formative evaluations of the software indicate the methodological and logistical barriers to be overcome. The chapter concludes that a principled approach to evaluation is integral to the science of learning design.