Associate of Science in Nursing Hybrid Program Evaluation

Introduction

Evaluation Plan

An evaluation plan represents a framework or a ‘road map’ necessary for clarifying the needed steps for assessing the processes and outcomes of a program. Therefore, an effective evaluation plan is a comprehensive and dynamic tool that can be updated regularly to reflect any program changes and modify priorities over time. Besides, it allows bridging gaps between the areas of evaluation and program planning through highlighting the goals of a program, clarifying measurable objectives, as well as connecting program processes with expected outcomes.

The purpose of the current evaluation plan is to assess the effectiveness of the hybrid education program for students in their Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) preparation. In the context of the logic model, types of program evaluation depend on the program stages. While a new initiative at the early stages of implementation is evaluated from the process perspective, a well-defined and stable program model allows to conduct measurements from the outcome, process, and impact standpoints. Because the hybrid education program has been appropriately defined and planned, it is possible to choose the more comprehensive model of evaluation.

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The questions for the evaluation fall under the three categories of measuring outcome, process, and impact. The questions to be addressed for the outcome area of assessment are the following:

  • Does the hybrid learning model result in the desired outcomes?
  • What are the limitations of program implementation?
  • Is there an outcome difference between academic staff and students?

The questions to be addressed for the process area of evaluation are the following:

  • Does the program use the available resources efficiently?
  • Is there a reason for the program no longer reaching the desired outcomes?

The questions to be addressed from the impact area of evaluation are the following:

  • Did the program result in the desired outcome for students and academic staff?
  • Is the hybrid learning approach more effective than others in reaching the desired outcomes?

To evaluate the outcomes of the hybrid learning model, the most beneficial evaluation method is a survey that may be administered for students, academic staff, and administrators who can provide their feedback on the success of the program and its value for the community. Besides, because the hybrid learning model implies an extensive use of online tools, a survey for program evaluation can be carried out digitally. In the COVID-19 pandemic context, hybrid learning has the potential of becoming a valuable tool to address the academic expectations of educational programs without putting the health and safety of students and educators at risk. Overall, a survey is expected to be easy in implementation, take less time, administered remotely, capable of collecting data from a large sample of respondents, as well as allow to answer numerous questions, thus giving flexibility in data analysis.

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The sample of survey participants will be obtained through a combination of simple random sampling and convenience sampling. Initially, all students, academic staff, and administrators will be assigned numbers that will be chosen using randomization software. However, if some of the participants refuse to take part in the survey, convenience sampling will be carried out to speed up the process and ensure that the samples meet the size requirements. It is expected to survey 100 students and 40 staff members to evaluate program implementation outcomes based on their perspectives. The data collected with the help of a survey will be analyzed quantitively using data analysis software. The survey results are expected to show whether the program reached the desired impact, whether the program’s resources are used efficiently, and whether the expected outcomes were attained.

From the ethical perspective, it is essential to consider several ethical issues that may impact program evaluation. When it comes to the benefits of program evaluation, they are expected to emerge as a result of the changes made at agency or program levels, such as the possibility to guide strategies for improving the programs’ impact on students and educators. This, in turn, will lead to other positive outcomes for the current or future implementation of the hybrid learning program. Nevertheless, it is also necessary to consider the risks, such as disruptions to participants’ life due to the need to sacrifice their time and energy to participate. Another risk is social harm, which is concerned with the violation of confidentiality.

To safeguard the participants of the evaluation process from the ethical risks, it is imperative to obtain informed consent that will show that individuals participate willingly. Students, educators, and administrative staff will be provided with information about the evaluation, including examples of questions, how the results will be used, as well as the estimated timeframe. It is necessary to describe the potential benefits of participating in the evaluation and answer any questions that the participants may have regarding their involvement. All data will be collected privately, and the anonymity of the individuals involved will be protected.

Recommendations

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need for educational institutions to face the need for hybrid learning. Because millions of young people cannot put a long pause on their education because of the unacceptable conditions for learning, hybrid education has come at the forefront of the efforts to preserve the continuity of learning in the current social climate. The evaluation of the program is concerned with the need to understand whether the level of education obtained through hybrid learning will meet the outcomes of traditional methods. In the context of nursing education, the academic load on students is high, and hybrid learning can facilitate a new approach that adapts the process of knowledge acquisition to a particular context.

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There are several points of recommendation that should be considered when it comes to the evaluation of hybrid learning programs. Specifically, it is necessary to ensure that students who engage in online learning feel that their acquisition of knowledge is not being hindered, and they can express their opinions and feelings, ask questions about learning, and that is always included in the process of education. In addition, the evaluation of the program will allow determining whether the processes align with the needs and objectives of students and whether the online resources available through the program both allow for independent and group education. In addition, it is recommended to keep a record of the established program goals and ensure that participants notice their progress. This will allow all stakeholders to be on the same page regardless of their responsibilities and level of involvement. In addition, the introduction of hybrid learning can come with adjusted and flexible schedules that can be negotiated and improved as the program is being implemented.

To implement the recommendations, it is necessary to align evaluation findings with the learning process. First, it is crucial to focus on students’ and educators’ well-being and relationships between each other. During the pandemic, the changes in families’ and students’ lives have affected basic needs, and academic staff and leaders must do their best to emphasize the well-being of positive relationships, especially in uncertain times. Keeping a focus on relationships may be challenging; however, it is essential to preserve because the environments are shifting, and the two-way support can strengthen the hybrid learning process.

Second, different modes of education call for different strategies of implementation. Both students and educators will present their personal opinions regarding the processes that will fit either online or face-to-face learning. For instance, both students and educators will likely agree that the delivery of content can be quickly done online while in-class time can be used for discussing relevant concepts and ideas and facilitating critical thinking activities, which are better supported when teachers and students can engage face-to-face. Activities for the classroom can include interactive discussions and hands-on lessons, any lab work that requires instructors’ supervision, or one-on-one instruction for vulnerable students. Activities for remote learning include independent work, viewing lecture materials in video or presentation form, and completing essay assignments. Therefore, hybrid learning will enable students and academic staff to determine how to best structure the learning process to facilitate high levels of engagement and strengthen reciprocal relationships.

To communicate the findings and recommendations to various stakeholders, it is necessary to keep everyone “in the loop” (Watt, 2016). The process of communication planning entails defining the types of information delivered, its recipients, the format of message delivery, as well as the timing of release and distribution. The format of message delivery can vary depending on convenience as well as the availability of stakeholders for communication. The relevant information regarding program assessment will be presented synchronously through conference calls, live meetings, as well as texting. It is also expected that email will also be used to coordinate communication with stakeholders, although it is an asynchronous method of communication. The recipients of the evaluation findings will include teachers, educational facility administrators, as well as the main developers of the hybrid learnings school program. Moreover, because the hybrid learning program is carried out within the ASN context, nurses and other healthcare personnel will also receive information regarding the findings of the evaluation. Finally, the release of the evaluation findings will take place after three months of the program’s implementation. The executive summary of the findings will be made available in both printed and digital format so that the stakeholders can choose how to access the results.

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Conclusion

To conclude, hybrid learning could be the answer to the ongoing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and evaluating its outcomes and impact on students’ learning within the ASN program is necessary for evidence-based improvement. By surveying students and academic staff on the implementation of the program, it is possible to reveal the overall effectiveness in reaching the desired goals, evaluate the appropriateness of resources’ use, as well as show the impact of hybrid learning on the participants of the learning process. The findings will allow adjusting the learning process to the needs of ASN students and their educators to ensure that the desired outcomes are reached.

Reference

Watt, A. (2016). Project management (2nd ed.). BCcampus.

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