Several individuals are involved with the Essential Skills Program as independent contractors with specific roles to play. This includes the broker organization representative and an objective evaluator brought in to evaluate the progress of the participants. Under this category there were several common themes that emerged from the data. The first was a need for greater interaction within the group of instructors in regards to curriculum development and delivery methods. The second was a need for a more structured orientation for new instructors with emphasis on procedures and course outcomes development.
The participant group was made up entirely of individuals taking the courses that were included in the action research project. The members of this group were given a short questionnaire before the intervention and then the same questions after the intervention was complete. The most common themes that emerged were: participants are still unsure as to what is taught in each course and what level of knowledge is required as well as concerns about the evaluation process. However, overall there was an agreement that the courses had improved after the intervention.
Monitoring the Results and Reflecting on the Action Research Project
Originally there were four scheduled team-building sessions: an instructor introduction session, a procedures development session, a professional team-building training session, and a curriculum development session. During the course of the intervention, however, only the first two sessions took place. It turned out to be immensely difficult to arrange meeting times when all of the instructors could attend. Each of the instructors represent a provider and work full-time for that organization above and beyond what is expected in this program. As a result, there was not a single time that all of the teachers could attend during the available time period. During the first two sessions only 60% of the instructors could attend each session. Based on this situation, it was decided that the final two sessions would be cancelled, and the post-intervention data gathering would take place instead.
Based on a comparison of the pre and post intervention data, and scheduled changes for future program sessions, it became evident that the answer to the question can instructor team building increase the effectiveness of the program? is yes. All of the criteria for success can be addressed through the data collected and the proposed changes to the program. Starting as soon as the next session, one of the instructors will begin the role of informal team leader and start working with the instructors to coordinate the consistency of the curriculum and delivery methods as well as the development of an orientation package for new instructors. It will require several sessions to determine if issues of instructor and participant turnover have been resolved, but all indications at this point are positive.
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