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Ideas for Designing and Evaluating Extension Education (CE) Courses

First, determine the educational, developmental and professional goals and needs of adult learners within the community. Ask the question; what are the problems, issues and interests which continuing education could help resolve, address or inform.

Prior to submitting a proposal

Consider the educational materials, which should contain the following elements:

  • Course title/program description: Does the title adequately describe program content? Is the program description/rationale clearly explained? Is the target audience clearly identified? Is there a limit or maximum to the number of participants who may attend?
  • Learning outcomes: Are the outcomes stated? Do the outcomes indicate specifically what participants will be able to do as a result of the program? Are the number of learning outcomes reasonable for the length of the program? Reviewing this element may help distinguish broad overview courses from in-depth programs.
  • Instructor credentials: Is the instructor presenting within their area of expertise?
  • Instructional methods: Is the method of delivery described (facilitation, face to face, online blended or action learning activities? Does the method of delivery include active involvement of the audience?
  • CEUs: Does the program/course offer recognized CEUs (IACET, ANSI, CFRE)? Is it offered by an ASHA Approved CE Provide ? What are the criteria for satisfactory completion of the course and earning of CEUs?
  • Registration fees: Are they reasonable when compared to similar programs in the community? If not, inquire (ask Paula).
  • Refund/cancellation policy: If you as the instructor maintain a cancellation policy, please notify CE.

During the course/presentation

Please consider evidenced-based Extension Education:

  • Currency of content: Is the information being presented/facilitated/demonstrated/taught, combining expertise and experience with the best available, current evidence to guide the presentation/course/program?
  • Population for your continuing education course: To what populations and under what circumstance might this be relevant?
  • Results: How will the course and presenter measure results or outcomes (course content and instructor evaluation)?

Consider at the end of the course

Extension Education provides both instructors and participants with an evaluation form to complete regarding the course. All parties are encouraged to complete evaluation forms either before, during or after the learning activity (depending on the course and length of the program). Information derived from these evaluations is an important component of quality improvement efforts. Consider the following components of a high-quality continuing education program:

  • Handouts if provide : Was the information provided current?
  • Instructors: Did they:
    • Establish rapport and maintain the audience's attention? Did they encourage questions and discussion and appear genuinely interested in the needs and concerns of participants? Did they show enthusiasm and generate curiosity? Did they provide and manage feedback appropriately?
    • Provide an overview of the program including the learning outcomes and explain how the audience would benefit?
    • Seem knowledgeable and current?
    • Use appropriate teaching methods for the stated learning outcomes? Did they alternate methods to appeal to more than one learning style? Did they actively engage the audience throughout?
    • Pace their presentation allowing participants to process the content? Did they summarize and emphasize key points?
  • Course assessment tools: How do you know learning outcomes were achieved? Will achievement of learning outcomes be based on formal or informal assessment(s)? Were participants encouraged to evaluate the program?
  • Learning environment: Did it support the physical needs of learners? Did it support learning? Did it facilitate learner interaction?