Online Evaluation Resource Library

First day of the AERA conference here in Montreal is over. The weather here is still extremely cold, with no sign of spring anywhere yet – in fact, large piles of snow still sit in some shady spots around the city!

I attended an interesting session this afternoon, titled “Evaluating a Web-based Learning Environment for Professional Development.” I went expecting to hear about some research into this area, but was pleasantly surprised to hear about a project that has been under way for nine years called OERL, the Online Evaluation Resource Library.

This library was developed for professionals seeking to design, conduct, document, or review project evaluations, and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

OERL’s mission is to support the continuous improvement of project evaluations. To this end, OERL provides:
* A large collection of sound plans, reports, and instruments from past and current project evaluations in several content areas
* Guidelines for how to improve evaluation practice using the Web site resources

The site is very user-friendly, and has an interactive tutorial that you can work through to gain an understanding of what you can do with the tools available on the site. Looks like a really valuable source of information for anyone undertaking an evaluation of a web-based learning environment.

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