PREST: Practitioner Research and Evaluation Skills Training in Open and Distance Learning: User Guide

by Charlotte Creed (Editor, Author), Richard Freeman (Editor, Author), Bernadette Robinson (Editor, Author), Alan Woodley (Editor, Author)
Contributors: Project Coordinator: Charlotte Creed
Publishers: COL (2005)
ISBN: 1894975189
Format: PDF (Portable Document Format)/Acrobat Reader
Additional Information:

View  PREST brochure (PDF)
View  PREST review (PDF)

The Core Modules and Handbooks listed below on the right are being made available for download published.

Individuals accessing this site may reproduce (download/print) copies of the PREST materials and any accompanying third-party copyright materials for their own personal non-commercial use only. Any further reproduction or transmission of any such content is prohibited except by permission of the copyright holder of the relevant material.

This publication is currently available in electronic format only. It is not available for order as a physical copy.
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The PREST training resources aim to help open and distance learning practitioners develop and extend their research and evaluation skills.They can be used on a self-study basis or by training providers.The resources consist of two sets of materials: a six-module foundation course in research and evaluation skills and six handbooks in specific research areas of ODL.There is an accompanying user guide.A full list appears on the back cover.

The print-based materials are freely downloadable from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) website ( Providers wishing to print and bind copies can apply for camera-ready copy which includes colour covers ( were developed by the International Research Foundation for Open Learning ( on behalf of COL.

The modules and handbooks

The programme consists of two sets/levels of learning materials: six core modules which, together, form a small foundation course in research and evaluation methods explored within ODL contexts; six handbooks – a collection of stand-alone interactive guides to conducting research and evaluation in a particular field of ODL.

The core

The core part of the PREST programme consists of six modules:

  • A1: Doing educational research and evaluation in ODL – Author: Alan Woodley.
  • A2: Planning research and evaluation – Author: Anna Robinson-Pant.
  • A3: Getting and analysing quantitative data – Author: Alan Woodley.
  • A4: Getting and analysing qualitative data – Author: Rob Walker.
  • A5: Mixed research methods – Authors: Christine Spratt, Rob Walker and Bernadette Robinson.
  • A6: Reporting research to support or influence change – Authors: Janet Stuart and Colin Latchem.
The handbooks

The six handbooks each deal with a more specific aspect of ODL research. Some practitioners may already know what area they wish to conduct some research or evaluation in and wish to start immediately. Some researchers might need different handbooks at different stages of their research careers:

  • B1: Using programme monitoring in research and evaluation – Author: Neil Butcher.
  • B2: Measuring outcomes – Author: Charles Potter.
  • B3: Cost and economics of open and distance learning – Author: Hilary Perraton.
  • B4: Programme evaluation and its role in quality assurance – Author: Merridy Strydom-Wilson.
  • B5: Researching marginalised and disadvantaged learners – Authors: Barbara Spronk and Jason Pennels.
  • B6: Researching tutoring and learner support – Author: Jane Brindley.

PREST is also available for online delivery using Moodle. You can download the backup Moodle courses at the links below. In order to assist tutors in the tutoring of PREST Online, we created a short Moodle tutorial "Guidelines for Tutoring PREST Online course". This is a tutorial for tutors, not a PREST course. Feel free to add to this resource as you see fit for your own institution.

Backup Moodle Files (.zip)

Guidelines for Tutoring PREST Online course (this is a tutorial for tutors, not a PREST course): TutorPrest (580KB)

PREST Theme Files: PREST Theme (513KB) 
A1+A2: Research Foundations for ODL Practitioners: PREST A1+A2 (10.7MB)
A3: Getting and Analysing Quantitative Data: PREST A3 (9.3MB)
A4: Getting and Analysing Qualitative Data: PREST A4 (12MB)
A5: Mixed Research Methods: PREST A5 (12.5MB)
 A6: Reporting on Research and Evaluation to Support or Influence Change: PREST A6 (13.4MB)
B6: Researching Tutoring and Learner Support: PREST B6 (1.8MB)

Installation Instructions

 Installation Instructions (PDF)
 Installation Instructions (.odt)
 Installation Instructions (.doc)

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