Evaluation of longitudinal impact from a university teacher preparation program

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 39: The Shape of Higher Education

July, 2016, 391 pages
Published by
Melissa Davis & Allan Goody

The impact of professional training for teaching academics on teaching and student learning has been much debated, with researchers noting the dearth of rigorous, longitudinal studies evaluating effectiveness. This study explored perceptions of participants in a mandatory university teacher preparation program to determine whether they demonstrate learning transfer beyond the program. Both quantitative and qualitative data were obtained from academics who had participated in the program over a four-year period. This paper presents a longitudinal perspective on selected survey data. The majority of respondents had a more positive attitude to teaching practice and taught differently as a result of participation. One very clear pattern was that respondents more than two years removed from the program gave a more positive perception of its impact. We surmise this is due to additional time to reflect upon their learning and the time, capacity and opportunity to have translated knowledge into practice. The results indicate that participation influences academics’ knowledge, attitudes and broader capacity to teach in a rapidly changing higher education environment well beyond the duration of the program with consequent benefits to student learning. Longitudinal evaluation of program effects provides valuable data to validate current practice and to incorporate into ongoing reflective learning vital to support adaptability and change in Academic Developers’ future practice.

Keywords: reflective practice, capacity building, professional learning