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Measuring the Success of Virtual Learning

New Visual Tool Shows Student Ratings from Human Services Virtual Trainings


The COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden and overwhelming shift in the way we do business—providing classroom-based instruction, county-based training, state and national conferences, one-on-one coaching and other workforce development services to human services professionals throughout California and across the nation—but it did not shift our mission of changing practice and transforming lives.

The transition to a 100% virtual training format was, as with most institutions of higher learning, a new experience for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education and its Human Service department. As a way to monitor and measure the effectiveness of this shift to virtual learning, the Human Services Evaluation team was tasked with compiling all course evaluation data from students who completed virtual training, then developing a public-facing tool to present these student ratings.

“Initially we had some county agencies express concerns about the efficacy of training their staff in a virtual environment,” explained Susan Brooks, director of UC Davis Human Services. “We created the visual display tool to be transparent with course evaluation data and, ultimately, dispel any concerns our county partners had after we transitioned to virtual learning.”

Access the new student ratings display tool on this web page.

How does the student ratings display tool work?

Data was collected from standard course evaluations sent to participants upon completion of their online training. The data shown in the visual display tool represents only trainings taken in an online format, beginning in April of this year.

The goal was to develop a visual that is easily accessible and user friendly. The display tool can be viewed in a few different ways:

  • As a quick snapshot of student responses across five overall categories:  job applicability, instructor, course content, logistics and overall course rating.
  • As an interactive tool, allowing users to hover over general ratings to reveal additional information about the ratings within that category. Users can also click on any of the five training areas in the bottom display to see the adjusted top category ratings for that specific training area. Lastly, users can view the data reflected within a specified date range by using the sliding scale at the top of the visual to adjust the date range.
  • View in full-screen for downloading and sharing by using the buttons at the bottom right of the display.

Moving Forward

As we continue to navigate the physical distancing restrictions in California and the unpredictability of the pandemic, UC Davis Human Services wants its stakeholders to see virtual training as a viable and potentially long-term option that offers the same quality education as an in-person training. 

“We are committed to continuous quality improvement in all of our workforce development offerings, and as part of UC Davis, we’re also committed to transparency. We wanted to be able to demonstrate to our county partners what aspects of the transition to virtual learning have been a success, and what areas need to be refined for optimal learning outcomes,” Brooks added.

The course evaluation data and student ratings will be compiled and updated on the visual display tool on a regular basis to reflect the value of our online training over time.

In addition, UC Davis Human Services conducted three months of surveys with all students and instructors to learn what’s working, as well as areas for growth and improvement. The findings have been key to our continued goal of providing exceptional workforce development opportunities.

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