About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ways of Assessing Organizational Learning

A comment Ewa left on my blog and my response, has left me wondering how we can assess worker learning over a period of time, both through formal learning and informal learning.

I keep coming up with a portfolio of work over a year's time. I think that an electronic portfolio with the worker's self-selected best work will give trainers and management an idea of what workers feel are important in their work, the skills they have developed, and perhaps how individual assessment match up to management and organizational assessments/goals.

With that in mind, I began to consider what my portfolio would look like. I might include some of my blog postings I have done as a result of my analysis of my teaching, such as "What are we doing as teachers to make ourselves literate in the workplace?" or "Lessons learned in New Communication Technologies in Organizational Life". The first is an example of how I am learning (a structure of what I think is important) and the second is an example of how I have learned from my work.

I would also include some of my students' work which is a by-product of my own work: teaching, such as the Pageflake for my students' conference on nano-technology or the technology blog they put together. I also thought that a list of the resources I have collected for classes on delicious would be a good example of the types of resources I have found concerning a certain topic such as those for my ACOM 203 class (speech writing and presentation) or work literacy (professional resources). Finally, I have web pages (which actually need to be updated) for each of the courses I have taught over the last 3 years: Global Communication, New Communication Technologies in Organizational Life, Introduction to Distance Learning, Computer Supported Writing Across the Curriculum, Speech Composition and Presentation.

There are two areas in which I am stuck, however. How do I show "learning" or evidence of my work that is either 1) in a non-electronic format or 2) protected because of privacy? In the second case, I would need those evaluating my work portfolio access to my work (such as blackboard). However, in my case, blackboard and university wikis are erased at the end of the semester because of FERPA (student privacy laws). This might be the problem in areas such as healthcare, financial services, or insurance. I am not sure how to be able to document work that by law is limited access.

The second area has to do with tacit learning. For example, I share an office with another communication professor and we often discuss problems and solutions for similiar problems we are having with our students. While I might not use her ideas verbatum, the discussion gives me a different insight into the situation which might result in more effective teaching on my part.

Likewise, my sister, a speech pathologist, will often consult with me on cases of bilingual students. Both of us leave the discussion with new insight into language development (sometimes with the aid of outside sources, other times just through the discussions/question and answers). How can this type of activity be documented and counted? One possible way would be to blog about it.

I would be interested in hearing about any other suggestions you might have for assessing learning in more non-traditional ways.

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