Experiential education and empowerment evaluation are in alignment conceptually and in practice. They represent mutually reinforcing educational tools with similar values. The purpose of this discussion is to present the basics of this evaluation approach and demonstrate how user-friendly it was in a recent evaluation of an experiential program. Empowerment evaluation is the use of evaluation concepts, techniques, and findings to foster improvement and self-determination. Program participants conduct their own evaluations with the assistance of an evaluator. Empowerment evaluation has been adopted in a wide array of settings, including tribal reservations, inner city schools, higher education, non-profit programs, and the Environmental Protection Agency. An experiential education program designed to mirror an end-to-end mission on Mars, called LAPIS, is the case example used to highlight the steps and illustrate the effectiveness of empowerment evaluation in experiential education. This case demonstrates how empowerment evaluation is a natural match for experiential education programs.
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