Darrell A. Dromgoole, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Dana Tarter, Regional Program Leader- Family and Consumer Health/4-H and Youth Development, Central Region, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Scott Cummings, Associate Department Head and Program Leader; Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
As you begin your career in Extension, most Extension educators will be rapidly engaged in Extension programming. Extension educational programming is an intentional effort to fulfill predetermined needs of people and communities (Seevers, Graham, Gamon, & Conklin, 1997). A single event or activity rarely results in the types of behavioral changes necessary to realize this mission. The word program refers to the product resulting from all activities in which a professional educator and learner are involved (Seevers et al, 1997). Many times educational programs are interpreted as meaning an educational activity, workshop, clinic, or field day when in reality these activities may only be a component of the overall educational program. The educational program is the sum of all the components/methods and is consummated with the evaluation of the entire program, which reflects Extension’s impact from a social, environmental and/or environmental perspective. Figure 1 depicts a collection of educational events that collectively makeup an Extension educational program.
Figure 1. Components of Extension Educational Program.
These 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. Programs are designed utilizing a variety of educational methods (field days, educational meetings, workshops, result demonstrations, newsletters, mass media, etc.).
Program planning is defined as the process designed to bring about effective programming (Seevers et al, 1997). This process can be viewed as a system of interrelated parts which work together to achieve defined goals (Seevers et al, 1997). Boone (2002) stated that program planning, “includes the individual and collaborative efforts of the adult education organization, the adult educator, and the learner in planning, designing, implementing, evaluating and accounting for educational programs” (p. 1). The Extension Committee on Policy (1974) defined Extension program development as “a continuous series of complex, interrelated processes which result in the accomplishments of the educational mission and objectives of the organization” (Seevers et al, 1997, p.92).
Reviews of program development models have identified four main components of the program development process; planning, design and implementation, and evaluation and accountability. These components or processes are systematically linked to result in successful programming. a description of each of these phases:
A well‐designed, credible evaluation of your program will equip you with empirical evidence to effectively answer that question. Evaluation is an integral part of Extension programming. From an agency-wide perspective, evaluation is used to gather information for our state legislature and commissioner courts all across Texas to demonstrate the impact Extension has made and justify continued funding for our existence. On an individual level, evaluation provides practical information about your programming efforts – how your programs are performing, who they are reaching, and what might be done differently to improve their effectiveness.
Boleman, C., Cummings, S. & Pope. P. (2005). Keys to education that works: Texas Cooperative Extension’s program development model, Texas Cooperative Extension, College Station, Texas. Publication #345.
Boone, E.J., Safrit, R.D. & Jones, J. (2002). Developing programs in adult education: A conceptual programming model. (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.
Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), (1977). National guidelines for staff development. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire.
Prawl, W., Medlin, R. & Gross, J. (1984). Adult and continuing education through the Cooperative Extension Service. Extension Division, University of Missouri, Columbia.
Radhakrishna, R. (1999). Program evaluation and accountability training needs of Extension Agents. Journal of Extension. 37 (3). Retrieved June 21, 2018 from, http://www.joe.org/joe/1999june/rb1.html
Seevers, B., Graham, D., Gamon, J., & Conklin, N., (1997). Education through Cooperative Extension. Albany, NY: Delmar