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ERIC Number: EJ960398
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISSN: ISSN-1389-224X
The Importance of Evaluation--The Case of the "The Options for Farm Families Programme" in Ireland
Farrell, Maura; McDonagh, John
Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, v18 n2 p105-120 2012
Purpose: The article explores the significance of "evaluation" in the delivery of multifunctional extension advisory programmes and argues the necessity of integrating evaluation into programme planning, to ensure that programme guidelines are adhered to and extension advisory programmes generate their desired impact. The article focuses on the Irish Extension Advisory Service (Teagasc) as they implement major programme restructuring mechanisms to meet the challenges in the Irish agricultural community. Design/methodology/approach: One extension programme indicative of this restructuring is "The Options for Farm Families Programme". This programme embraces a multifunctional approach whereby extension advisers transfer relevant knowledge and advice to "farm families" about future "options". While the programme displays vision and forward thinking, on evaluation (using Bennett's Hierarchy as a methodological evaluation process), significant failings in the programme's implementation were discovered. Findings: The evaluation carried out on the Options Programme discovered that the process and guidelines of the programme were not adhered to, resulting in the programme having little or no impact on the programme participants. Practical implications: The practical implication of this evaluation research was the provision of feedback to Teagasc which resulted in the implementation of programme changes, many of which come into effect in the coming months. Originality/value: The added value lies in the notion that not only is evaluation an integral part of any successful extension programme development but there is also a need to "embrace error" which allows for individual and collective learning. Few studies, particularly in an Irish context, have sought to evaluate multifunctional extension programmes, despite the evidence that the intervention of such professionals has greatly influenced the behaviour of many farm families. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland