Background: The absence of a standard, comprehensive approach to evaluating technology-enhanced learning (TEL) limits the utility of individual evaluations, and impedes the integration and synthesis of results across studies.
Purpose: To outline a comprehensive framework for approaching TEL evaluation in medical education, and to develop instruments for measuring the perceptions of TEL learners and instructors.
Methods and results: Using both theoretical constructs of inquiry in education and a synthesis of existing models and instruments, we outlined a general model for evaluation that links utility, principles, and practices. From this we derived a framework for TEL evaluation that identifies seven data collection activities: needs analysis; documentation of processes, decisions, and final product; usability testing; observation of implementation; assessment of participant experience; assessment of learning outcomes; and evaluation of cost, reusability, and sustainability. We then used existing quality standards and approaches to develop instruments for assessing the experiences of learners and instructors using TEL.
Conclusions: No single evaluation is likely to collect all of this information, nor would any single audience likely find all information elements equally useful. However, consistent use of a common evaluation framework across different courses and institutions would avoid duplication of effort and allow cross-course comparisons.