Framework for Program Development

Planning and conducting research-based educational programs that result in a demonstrated impact on clients is the premise of Extension work. Through the years, many different models have been used to illustrate this process. Differing slightly from one another, all address planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating as major components. Common elements of each are conducting a situation analysis, assessing clients' needs, identifying a target audience, setting priorities, establishing goals and objectives, identifying content or curricula, determining appropriate learning strategies, and developing an evaluation plan to measure the effect of the educational program on client behavior.

Utilizing a Logic Model for Program Development

The LSU AgCenter utilizes the logic model as its program development model. The Logic Model guides the educators through the process of developing an educational program using a series of if-then statements. This process begins with the desired outcomes or impacts in mind and is framed within the existing situation and priorities identified by stakeholders and faculty. The necessary investments or inputs are then identified. Activities to be conducted and the targeted participants categorized as outputs are then defined

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Program Development Terms & Definitions

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A series of activities and learning experiences with an educational component that contributes to accomplishing one or more objectives. For example, a field day alone is not enough to achieve the desired behavior change of educating a producer about proper tillage practices for a specific situation. It is an activity. However, when you add to that educational experience, dialogue with other farmers, additional seminars, the use of computer software to address economic needs, and publications, all on the same topic, it becomes a program.

The short, medium, and long-term results of program efforts. Specifically, short-term outcomes reflect the learning that results from a program. The medium-term outcomes reflect the action changes that result. The long-term outcomes, also referred to as impacts, are the ultimate changes in social, economic, civic, or environmental conditions that occur because of the program. The terms outcomes and objectives are often used interchangeably.

Things that occur in the environment, such as culture, climate, demographics, economic structure, and political environment. External factors may have a major influence on whether program outcomes are achieved.

The systematic process of determining a product's or program's worth against a defined set of criteria. It involves asking good, critical questions about programs or program components to improve the programs.

A type of evaluation that determines the net causal effects of an educational program beyond its immediate results. Synonymous with long-term outcomes.

The activities that were conducted and the audiences reached in an educational program. For example, 4-H Achievement Day is an activity or output, like a livestock show or a workshop. Audiences are the participants in the educational program. Your clients or customers.

The investments made in the educational program, such as staff, volunteers, time, money, and materials.

The setting within which the problem or issue resides dictates the need for an educational program. Perhaps the most critical step is clearly defining the problem to be addressed--what it is, why it is a problem, for whom it is, and what is known about the current problem.

The ordering of problems identified through the situation analysis. Criteria often used in selecting priorities are mission, values, resources, expertise, experience, history, what you know about the situation, and what others are doing about the problem.

The overall aims and purpose of a program. Broad in nature.

Specific means to achieve a goal. More narrow and focused than goals. The terms objectives and outcomes are often used interchangeably.

Beliefs the program developer has about the program, the people involved, and how the program might work.

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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture