Most learners cooperatively and willingly chose to fill in the checklist at the end of each session. In some cases, checklists were taken home to review, fill out and cross reference with class hand-outs. This was combined with written and oral comments about what stood out as a significant learning. A few people chose the second strategy and did either an in-class project or a project-based home assignment relevant to work, home or personal interests. Most people agreed to keep track, if not with paper and pen, as least mentally of any incidences of learning application outside the classroom. For the fourth option, no one elected to take a test.
Monitoring the Results and Reflecting on the Action Research Project
Results of the implementation of the action strategies were monitored using a number of different approaches. Without exception, participating learners were part of a group discussion or a one-on-one conference meeting. At the end of each session, instructor and learners discussed freely the advantages of the action strategy they had chosen. As well, written feedback was received from students who composed short comments on their checklist sheets.
A post-course, follow-up telephone conversation with learners two to three weeks later was another monitoring method. The dialogue largely focused on transfer of learning and application to daily activities with some inferences to adult learning. Finally, the instructors electronic record of observations, reflections and conversations after each class became a method of introspectively documenting the impressions and outcomes.
The monitoring process resulted in three distinct outcomes. First, the learners affirmed and recommended the use of a checklist as a useful tool for learning. Group discussions revealed numerous advantages about its practicality. Learners stated that the checklist was useful:
One learner remarked that the checklist helped her to break concepts into discrete skills which was of assistance in identifying what she needed to know. Feedback on the checklist rating scale was also positive because it acknowledged that learning proceeds on a continuum and is constantly growing and evolving. Two students articulated that a checklist would not necessarily be an effective mechanism for retention as a summative evaluation strategy if the class was large. Overall, the small group discussions that focused on the checklist strategy rounded out a meaningful summary of the learning event and helped to describe aspects of specific learning.
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