FETCH! Online Training Evaluation Report: Executive Summary
Veridian inSight performed an evaluation study in fall of 2009 to evaluate the effectiveness of an online training developed as an outreach component of the FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman series (http://pbskids.org/fetch/). The FETCH! Hands-On Science Training was designed for anyone who wants to lead science activities with elementary-age kids (including after-school providers, teachers, camp counselors, librarians, museum staff, parents, and others). The goals of the evaluation study were to assess the extent to which the FETCH! training was successful at:· Preparing afterschool educators (hereafter referred to as leaders) for leading handson science activities‚· Enhancing leaders' comfort in leading hands-on science activities‚· Helping leaders teach kids about specific science content knowledge and skills (e.g. making predictions, understanding real-world connections) and Helping leaders get kids excited and engaged in hands-on science activities. The FETCH! training appeared to provide just the right amount of information to adults working with kids across a variety of informal educational settings, across the country. The training helped leaders to be more prepared and more comfortable leading hands-on science activities with kids, and also appeared to enhance leaders' ability to convey science concepts and processes and leaders' ability to engage kids and get them excited about doing science activities. While the FETCH! activities alone also appear to be highly effective at engaging kids, the FETCH! training used in combination with the activities were successful at helping leaders approach the activities with more confidence and a higher degree of preparation than leaders who used the FETCH! activities without training. Specific results include:· Leaders in the treatment group were statistically more likely than leaders in the control group to report that most of the kids in their groups learned something new about science got excited about exploring, like scientists and tested their new designs· The training helped leaders approach, lead and prepare for activities more effectively than before. Several specifically mentioned that the guidance on how to prepare open-ended questions helped get their kids involved. · The training helped leaders feel more comfortable leading hands-on science activities. · Leaders reported the biggest take-aways from the training were: use open-ended questions, let kids direct the activity, get prepared ahead of time, experiment with different variables, and use hands-on activities to teach kids about science.