Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) 642

Program Planning, Evaluation, and Instructional Methods in Adult Education (Revision 1)

MAIS 642
**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


MAIS 642: Program Planning, Evaluation, and Instructional Methods in Adult Education introduces students to the theory, concepts, and practices of program planning, evaluation, and instructional methods in adult education/learning contexts. Program planning is an important practical skill for adult educators who are responsible for developing, delivering, administering, and/or evaluating educational programs of any type or duration. Program planning must be considered within a societal and theoretical context.

This course will apply a critical perspective to explore theoretical approaches to program planning, the practical skills necessary in program planning, and the relationship between the two. The entire program planning process will be examined, including needs assessments, objectives, instructional design, administration and evaluation. Considerable time will also be spent on the theory, concepts, and practices of both program evaluation and methods of instruction. Students will be encouraged to apply theoretical principles of program planning to case studies and practical examples.

This course is part of the Adult Education focus area in the MAIS program. The course may also be of interest to Nurse/Health Educators, HRD/Trainers, and others specializing in other streams.

Course Structure

There are nine units in this course:

  • Unit 1 – Introduction
  • Unit 2 – Needs Assessments
  • Unit 3 – Defining Program Objectives
  • Unit 4 – Other Approaches to Program Planning
  • Unit 5 – Program Design and Implementation
  • Unit 6 – Instructional Methods
  • Unit 7 – Program Evaluation
  • Unit 8 – Program Administration
  • Unit 9 – Integrating Theory and Practice

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of F in one course, or a grade of C (65 percent) in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Activity Weighting
Online Participation 15%
Personal Beliefs and Program Planning Paper 10%
Instructional Methods Presentation 15%
Presentation of Final Project 10%
Case Study Analysis or Program Plan 30%
Case Study 1 10%
Case Study 2 10%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for MAIS 642: Program Planning, Evaluation, and Instructional Methods in Adult Education include the items listed below.


  • Cervero, R. M., & Wilson, A. L. (2006). Working the planning table: Negotiating democratically for adult, continuing and workplace education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  • Caffarella, R. S., & Daffron, S. R. (2013). Planning programs for adult learners: A practical guide for educators, trainers, and staff developers (3rd ed). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Moodle Course Website The course website includes a Course Information guide, Study Guides, and digital readings. Students will also engage in discussion and debate with the course professor and their fellow students at the course website.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, September 1, 2013.