Over 2007-2008, a pedagogy subject in a pre-service teacher education degree was (re)designed to help students develop their understandings and skills and a wider, more critical appreciation of the work of teachers and approaches to curriculum. The rationale for designing and including the online modules in the subject was to develop information and communication technology (ICT) skills, and to deliver a blended learning approach, argued by some to be more effective, that is, have more advantages than traditional approaches. In this paper, the face-to-face teaching alongside the eLearning that occurred in the blended learning approach is analysed using Tom Reeves and John Hedberg's model (2003) for evaluating interactive learning systems. Arguably, this evaluation model can be usefully applied to higher education teaching that is not fully online, and can help to comprise an integral part of an action research approach. This paper is a 'proof of concept' piece, demonstrating the applicability of the model to a blended learning course. Demonstrating the application of Reeves and Hedberg's model fills a knowledge void on the literature surrounding blended learning. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
The isolation of older people is recognised as a major social problem in contemporary Western society. While the risk factors and social or health outcomes of isolation and loneliness in later life are well documented, evidence regarding the effectiveness of programmes aimed at reducing social isolation in older people remains inconclusive. This paper reports on the challenges of attempting to undertake a rigorous evaluation of three demonstration pilot projects targeting older people at risk of social isolation, conducted within different social settings in Queensland, Australia. The demonstration projects were part of the Queensland Cross-Government Project to Reduce Social Isolation in Older People (CGPRSIOP) led by the Office for Seniors within the Queensland Department of Communities. In the absence of good evaluation of programmes aimed at social isolation, this government-run programme incorporated validated psychological measures to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. While use of these measures suggested some promising results, the focus of this paper is on the methodological and practical challenges associated with utilising evaluation measures in community-based interventions. The detailed consideration of the methodological issues involved in this programme highlights some key lessons and offers new insights into evaluating interventions for reducing social isolation.