by Dominique Turnbow
If you’ve ever filled out a questionnaire after a workshop about how you liked it, you’ve experienced a version of Level 1 evaluations. Instructional designers and educators refer to these as “smile sheets” because what you’re really after is evidence of satisfaction from your learners. An obvious way to do this is to give students an anonymous evaluation at the end of class where you ask them to rate how well they liked the workshop based on how engaging it was and how relevant the examples were. However, even when focusing on Level 1 evaluation, I think it is important to consider your learning outcomes. In addition to the typical “smile sheets,” I like to include a question or two about how confident learners feel about their ability to achieve the learning outcomes. It is unrealistic to expect our learners to be expert database searchers at the end of our one-shot information literacy workshops, but we can hope that they will feel confident about their progress toward that goal.
Let’s pretend I had the following learning outcomes for a workshop:
- Given a list of article databases with descriptions recommended for their course topics, learners will be able to identify at least two that are relevant to their topic.
- Given an overview search strategies that one can use to modify a search (i.e. Boolean, limits, abstract, database subject and keywords, bibliography/cited references, times cited references, and related records), learners will be able to use at least three of them to modify a search in a database of their choice for their topic.
- Given an UC-eLinks window, students will be able to identify if an article they want is available from the UCSD Library electronically and/or in print.
One method that I’ve used to evaluate student confidence is to have them rate themselves at the end of the workshop (just include it with your smile sheet).
Remember, Level 1 evaluation is not concerned with if learners can do what you hope you’ve taught them, it is about learner reaction, including their satisfaction and engagement. If students are satisfied and engaged, it is likely they will feel more confident as a result of your instruction.