A Critical Appraisal Model of Program Evaluation in Adult Continuing Education

  • Faye Wiesenberg University of Calgary


This paper describes a critical appraisal model of program evaluation that was developed specifically for a university continuing education context (i.e., credit and non-credit programs designed to meet the personal and professional development needs of adult learners). The articulation of this model is a result of the first Prairie Symposium on Research on University Continuing Education, held in June 1999, and of ensuing discussions about the need for a proactive, research-based, and adult learner-oriented approach to evaluating programs. The paper begins with a brief overview of the conceptual framework of the model, followed by a discussion of the process and content issues deemed important within a university continuing education context. The model is then illustrated in detail through a case study of the approach used by one university faculty of continuing education to evaluate its graduate program in workplace learning. The paper closes with a discussion of the applicability of this model to other adult continuing education programs.