Exploring the instructional technology coach’s role as data-driven decision-maker

What is data-driven decision making?

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Data-driven decision-making is “the practice of using insights derived from data to make better decisions” (www.business.abobe.com). This involves collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and using data to inform teaching and learning practices as opposed to relying on experience, intuition, opinion, or observations. An instructional technology coach can assist educators in selecting and utilizing secure online surveying tools to collect and store data as well as support educators in the interpretation and decision-making resulting from data collection.

The International Society for Technology in Education Data-Driven Decision-Maker Coaching Standard states that “Coaches model and support the use of qualitative and quantitative data to inform their own instruction and professional learning” (ISTE).

 Following, I will provide evidence of my understanding of the three data-driven decision-maker performance indicators.

In my Winter 2022 Professional Development and Program Evaluation class, I completed a comprehensive program evaluation project focusing on dietetic interns’ utilization of digital technology in supervised practice settings. This project shows evidence of my understanding of PI 4.6a and PI 4.6b:

PI 4.6a: Assist educators and leaders in securely collecting and analyzing data.

PI 4.6b: Support educators to interpret qualitative and quantitative data to inform their decisions and support individual student learning.

The purpose of this survey was to study the utilization of digital technology in supervised practice rotations affiliated with a dietetic internship program. The goals of survey were to: assess preceptors’ perceptions regarding knowledge, skills, confidence, and utilization of digital technology of dietetic interns. Additionally, the types of digital tools used in supervised practice facilities were explored as well as preceptor attitudes regarding use of digital technology in dietetics practice.

The survey was emailed to 43 preceptors who work in a variety of professional settings across the Puget Sound region. The survey was developed using Google Forms and included both open-ended and closed-ended questions. Survey results indicated the following:

The overwhelming majority (83.3%) of respondents agreed that dietetic interns are confident or very confident in utilizing digital technology to complete assigned work at supervised practice facilities.

There is value attached to utilization of infographics in dietetics work. Ranked third in use after videoconferencing and electronic health records (EHR), 54.2% of respondents stated that infographics are used by dietetic interns at their facilities. Moreover, 29.2% of respondents indicated that they would like to see SPU dietetic interns use infographics more frequently in their facilities.

Most respondents are satisfied or very satisfied (66.7%) with interns’ digital communication skills when utilizing digital technology to communicate with patients, clients, healthcare professionals and/or the public.

Quantitative survey results identified a few themes in areas of growth in utilization of digital technology among dietetic interns. They include exposure to a wider range of EHR systems, broader access, and utilization of membership-based digital tools (e.g., Evidence Analysis Library and the Nutrition Care Manual), and design and marketing aspects of designing digital nutrition education materials for the public.

In addition, a qualitative thematic analysis was completed on the open-ended survey responses to gain insights on preceptors’ perceptions of interns’ strengths and areas of improvement utilizing digital technology. Using the deductive thematic analysis, the following tables include items that received at least two mentions.

Open-ended Response: General Strengths of Digital Technology Use

General strengths of dietetic interns utilizing digital technologyMentions
Tech savvy (competent, knowledgeable, proficient with digital technology)7
Comfortable using a variety of digital tools3
Quick to learn2

Open-ended Response: General Areas of Improvement of Digital Technology Use

General areas of improvement of dietetic interns utilizing digital technologyMentions
Access to specific types of digital technology (i.e., electronic health records, dietary analysis programs, Evidence Analysis Library, Nutrition Care Manual)6
Developing nutrition education materials for the public (i.e., “language and marketing savvy when translating nutrition information for the general public,” and “visual appeal, practical/usable information provided.”2

Implications for future research include gaining additional insights into how we can better prepare our interns to utilize digital technology in the supervised practice rotations affiliated with our program. Further qualitative research will be conducted to further explore the findings in the initial survey.

This project has given me the knowledge and skills to design an online survey, including both open-ended and closed-ended questions, analyzing and interpreting data, and using the findings to make data-driven decisions. I have developed the confidence and abilities to support other educators in similar endeavors.

In addition to the aforementioned program evaluation project, I examined the benefits of the mixed-method research method, which includes collecting, analyzing, and interpreting both quantitative and qualitative data, in my blog post titled, “Exploring the nuts and bolts of ed tech pd program evaluation: Merits of a mixed-method approach.”

PI 4.6c: Partner with educators to empower students to use learning data to set their own goals and measure their progress.

Further, in my blog post titled, “Integrating online peer review tools in higher education to reinforce digital citizenship skills,I explored peer grading as an assessment tool to empower students to use online rubric data prepared by their peers to set goals and measure their progress. For example, data can be compiled and averaged through online peer grading from multiple student reviews, which can be helpful in measuring progress on a scaffolded assignment.

In summary, my knowledge and skills in utilizing data to inform decision-making will be useful in my work as an educator and peer coach. My ability to use digital feedback tools, including Google Forms and PeerGrade, has enhanced my skillset in the utilization of digital technology.

References

Author unknown. Data-driven decision-making. (2022). https://business.adobe.com/glossary/data-driven-decision-making.html

International Society for Technology in Education. (2022). www.iste.org.

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