Enhancing environmental educators' evaluation competencies: Insights from an examination of the effectiveness of the my environmental education evaluation resource assistant (MEERA) website

Michaela T. Zint, Patrick F. Dowd, Beth A. Covittd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To conduct evaluations that can benefit individual programs as well as the field as a whole, environmental educators must have the necessary evaluation competencies. This exploratory study was conducted to determine to what extent a self-directed learning resource entitled My Environmental Education Evaluation Resource Assistant (MEERA) can enhance environmental educators' evaluation competencies. The multiple case studies relied on data from eight environmental educators with limited evaluation experience who used MEERA to evaluate one of their programs. Results suggest that MEERA can (1) increase environmental educators' perceived evaluation competencies, (2) help environmental educators produce quality evaluation outputs, and (3) foster their use of evaluation results. Perceived benefits of using MEERA included obtaining evidence of program success, insights into how to improve programs, and alternative ways of thinking about programs. Perceived challenges included varying difficulties with evaluation tasks such as prioritizing evaluation questions and designing data collection instruments and, in line with this, desiring personal expert assistance for context-specific advice and reassurance. This research contributes to expanding understanding of how to enhance environmental educators' evaluation competencies and practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-497
Number of pages27
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Keywords

  • Adult education
  • Beliefs
  • Capacity building
  • Environmental education
  • Evaluation

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