Large-scale educational development initiatives are widely used to trial and introduce change. One such is the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) initiative in England, now drawing to a close. An interim evaluation of this initiative revealed some excellent practice but no major impact. As CETLs strive to gain or sustain funding, their need to evidence their impact gains importance. This article considers the notion of impact and contends that the audience dictates the meaning and measurement of the term. It reviews the evolution and trialling of an innovative tool, the 'influence wheel', which attempts to show selected aspects of impact graphically as an interactive web page. Developed through an action research project funded by the Centre for Inter-professional e-Learning (CIPeL CETL), the tool employs the doughnut graph facility within Microsoft Office Excel in a novel way. The tool models CIPeL's influence at local, national and international levels. A small-scale evaluation of the tool found that it communicated aspects of impact effectively despite issues of usability and data completeness. The particular context is illustrative of how the influence wheel can be used. The tool has potential to reflect alternative understandings of impact, and may therefore be of interest to others in further and higher education seeking to communicate project achievements visually.
Bibliographical noteThis is an electronic version of an article published in the Journal of Further and Higher Education 34(1), pp. 35-46. The Journal of Further and Higher Education is available online at:
- action research
- project visualisation
- stakeholder evaluation