Evaluating the community outcomes of Australian learning community initiatives: innovative approaches to assessing complex outcomes

Article


Cavaye, Jim, Wheeler, Leone, Wong, Shanti, Simmons, Jan, Herlihy, Paula and Saleeba, Jim. 2013. "Evaluating the community outcomes of Australian learning community initiatives: innovative approaches to assessing complex outcomes." Community Development. 44 (5), pp. 597-607. https://doi.org/10.1080/15575330.2013.853681
Article Title

Evaluating the community outcomes of Australian learning community initiatives: innovative approaches to assessing complex outcomes

ERA Journal ID44895
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCavaye, Jim (Author), Wheeler, Leone (Author), Wong, Shanti (Author), Simmons, Jan (Author), Herlihy, Paula (Author) and Saleeba, Jim (Author)
Journal TitleCommunity Development
Journal Citation44 (5), pp. 597-607
Number of Pages11
Year2013
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1557-5330
1944-7485
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/15575330.2013.853681
Web Address (URL)http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15575330.2013.853681
Abstract

Learning communities are towns, cities, or regions where a series of actions are implemented to enhance lifelong learning and community capacity. These efforts include improving access to further education, mentoring, increasing opportunities for informal learning, sharing skills across sectors, and supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. In Australia, over 45 learning communities are contributing to social capital, social inclusion, and local partnership development. The outcomes of learning communities have been difficult to evaluate. Evaluation frameworks have been developed to assess a range of aspects of learning community outcomes. A key approach used is the Victorian Performance Management Framework, which consists of four tiers - the function of the learning community, learning delivery, lifelong learning, and community capacity. Evaluation experiences have shown: (1) the need for comprehensive but workable frameworks; (2) the involvement of community members in developing frameworks; (3) the need for different levels of impacts to be included in evaluation; (4) evaluation needs to be iterative and part of continuous improvement; and (5) the limitations of evaluation need to be understood and mitigated.

Keywordscommunity capacity; evaluation; learning community;
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020449999. Other human society not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
No affiliation
Starfish Consultancy, Australia
Morrisons, Australia
Australian Learning Communities Network, Australia
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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