Darrell A. Dromgoole, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Scott Cummings, Associate Department Head and Program Leader; Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
A successful Extension program requires an investment of time and resources. As we discussed in previous blog posts Extension educators should invest time and consideration in determining the sequence of the educational events. In order for educational events to result in clientele change it is important to determine the sequence of events.
Before sequencing events the Extension educator should embrace the concept that educational programming is an intentional effort to achieve predetermined needs of clientele (Seevers & Graham, 2012). It should be emphasized that a single event or activity rarely results in the types of behavioral changes that we have outlined.
The word program refers to the product resulting from all activities in which professional Extension educators and clientele are involved (Seevers & Graham, 2012). The educational program is the sum of all the components/methods and is culminated with the evaluation of the entire program. Evaluation results should reflect Extension’s impact in terms of changes in behavior, adoption of practices, or adoption of technology.
In other words, a program is defined as a series of sequential educational events (field days, workshops, mass media efforts, social media efforts, clinics, result demonstrations, and short courses, etc.) that results in clientele change.
The term sequential indicates that each of these educational activities/events be designed from an educational perspective to build on the previous event. Sequencing is purposely ordering activities or events, in a logical way, to maximize clientele outcomes. To help Extension educators best determine sequencing, it is best to review the needs assessments, identify clientele knowledge gaps, and current practices.
In sequencing educational events Extension educators can partition educational events and activities into three categories;
Figure 1 below illustrates how an Extension educator categorizes the sequence of educational events that will ensure learning opportunities for clientele is effective in promoting change:
Figure 1. Categories for sequencing Extension Educational events.
One of the most exciting and fulfilling responsibilities in Extension education is the implementation of a successful program. We should be mindful that Extension educational programs are designed to address issues identified by local clientele with committees, task forces, and coalitions being involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation and interpretation of programs. In future Next Step to Success in Extension Programming Blog we will explore the advantages and limitations of various program change methods.
Ripley, J., Cummings, S, Lockett, L., Pope, P., Wright, M., Payne, M., Kieth, L., & Murphrey, T. (2011). Creating Excellent Programs. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Publication. E-345. Retrieved from http://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/od/files/2010/03/E345.pdf
Seevers, B., & Graham, D. (2012). Education through Cooperative Extension. (3rd ed.). Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Bookstore.