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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

From Neil Mosley's enjoyably opinionated Twitter feed we read: "Why do people still allow conference presentations (where) we have no idea whether it was effective or not and we have no way of finding out?" If I had to advance a reason, it would be that there is still no consensus on what constitutes 'effective' in our field (and there might never be). It is with this sort of discussion in mind that Catherine Turner writes, "until now, the reporting of successful higher education outcomes has focused mainly on employment," which "only shows us showcases part of the impact higher education can have."

She refers readers to the Graduate Index, "a survey that measures graduates' successes across seven social and personal measures: social capital, civic engagement, confidence, resilience, quality of life, fulfilment, and career progression." Now it seems to me that the relation between a particular technique or technology and the outcomes described in this index will be difficult to define at best. Sure, if you reduce 'effective' to a simple outcome, you can perhaps discern effect sizes, as Hattie does. But any realistic assessment of the 'effectiveness' of a particular intervention is going to be far beyond the scope or ability of any individual research project.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
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Last Updated: Jun 18, 2024 11:30 a.m.

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