• Development of a nonformal education program evaluation plan: an evaluation design for two youth programs in Denali National Park and Preserve

      Lindauer, Dana; Vinlove, Amy; Ford, Stephanie; Hum, Richard (2019-12)
      This project proposes an evaluation design for two youth programs that operate out of the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park and Preserve. The two programs, Denali Backcountry Expeditions and Denali Summer Science Academy, are offered to Alaskan high school and college aged students and are co-managed by the National Park Service and Alaska Geographic. A formative, utilization-focused evaluation for instructors and managers of the programs was created. The evaluation seeks to facilitate targeted program development through articulating program goals and assessing participant outcomes related to these goals. In an effort to establish collaborative goals, eleven stakeholders were interviewed. Through grounded coding of stakeholder interviews, current goals and objectives for both programs were identified. From the interviews, main themes regarding program outcomes included a desire to impact cognitive, affective, and attitudinal relations between public lands and participants, and to provide an opportunity for youth to experience personal growth and social/emotional development in an undeveloped, outdoor setting. These and five other domains of program goals resulting from the analysis of the stakeholder interviews informed the design of a suite of evaluation tools. Tools including youth participant and adult chaperone surveys, concept mapping, and instructor post-program reflections were developed to collect both qualitative and quantitative data about program outcomes in relation to goals. Hardcopy and digital evaluation tools were designed along with an accompanying user manual for instructors and managers of the two programs.