The Practitioner Research and Evaluation Skills Training (PREST) series is published by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) in collaboration with the International Research Foundation for Open Learning 

The PREST training resources provide practitioners working in open and distance learning (ODL). The interactive materials aim to develop practical skills through research and evaluation tasks that use examples from international ODL contexts. The course materials provide a strong foundation for progress to higher-level research programmes and qualifications.

The PREST materials are designed for use by two target groups – ODL practitioners wanting self-study or reference materials and training providers looking for flexible research training resources to integrate into a variety of training contexts (e.g., face-to-face workshops, e-learning or reference materials).

View PREST brochure (135 Kb. Acrobat PDF download)

View PREST review (103 Kb. Acrobat PDF download)


All modules available here


Course content
The Core Modules and Handbooks listed below are available for download.


Individuals may download or 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.


User Guide 
User Guide download (82 Kb Acrobat PDF download)

PREST Core Modules 
providing a foundation in research and evaluation methods explored within ODL contexts for inexperienced researchers 
(20 to 40 reading hours each + activities)


A1 : Doing educational research and evaluation in ODL
by Alan Woodley (an introduction)

A1 Module download (549 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
A1 Module download (1.2 Mb MS Word .doc file)
A1 Module download (225 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (1.9 MB Acrobat PDF) 

A2 : Planning research and evaluation
by Anna Robinson-Pant 

A2 Module download (308 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
A2 Module download (514 Kb MS Word .doc file)
A2 Module download (206 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (140 Kb Acrobat PDF) 

A3 : Getting and analysing quantitative data
by Alan Woodley 

A3 Module download (78 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
A3 Module download (1870 Kb MS Word .doc file)
A3 Module download (550 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)

Resource files (right-click and save to download Excel spreadsheets)

A4 : Getting and analysing qualitative data
by Rob Walker 

A4 Module download (322 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
A4 Module download (585 Kb MS Word .doc file)
A4 Module download (209 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (858 Kb Acrobat PDF)

A5 : Mixed research methods
by Christine Spratt, Rob Walker & Bernadette Robinson 

A5 Module download (406 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
A5 Module download (542 Kb MS Word .doc file)
A5 Module download (245 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (1.1 MB Acrobat PDF)

A6 : Reporting on research and evaluation 
to support or influence change

by Janet Stuart & Colin Latchem 

A6 Module download (565 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
A6 Module download (1330 Kb MS Word .doc file)
A6 Module download (473 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (653 Kb Acrobat PDF)


PREST Handbooks - guides to conducting research and evaluation in a particular field of ODL
(20 reading hours each + activities)

B1 : Using programme monitoring in research and evaluation
by Neil Butcher  

B1 Handbook download (324 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
B1 Handbook download (726 Kb MS Word .doc file)
B1 Handbook download (233 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (1.1 MB Acrobat PDF) 

B2 : Measuring outcomes
by Charles Potter
B2 Handbook download (445 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
B2 Handbook download (836 Kb MS Word .doc file)
B2 Handbook download (257 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (803 Kb Acrobat PDF) 

B3 : Cost and economics of open and distance learning
by Hilary Perraton  
B3 Handbook download (178 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
B3 Handbook download (440 Kb MS Word .doc file)
B3 Handbook download (172 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (412 Kb Acrobat PDF) 

B4 : Programme evaluation and its role in quality assurance
by Merridy Wilson-Strydom  
B4 Handbook download (325 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
B4 Handbook download (554 Kb MS Word .doc file)
B4 Handbook download (205 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (687 Kb Acrobat PDF) 

B5 : Researching marginalised and disadvantaged learners
by Barbara Spronk & Jason Pennells  
B5 Handbook download (304 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
B5 Handbook download (575 Kb MS Word .doc file)
B5 Handbook download (214 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (941 Kb Acrobat PDF) 

B6 : Researching tutoring and learner support
by Jane Brindley 
B6 Handbook download (358 Kb Acrobat PDF file)
B6 Handbook download (848 Kb MS Word .doc file)
B6 Handbook download (235 Kb Open Office Document .odt file)
Reading resources download (2.4 MB Acrobat PDF)

PREST A covers
PREST B covers



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, available for viewing at: [link to: Update to VUSSC Moodle link?] (Select the Guidelines for Tutoring PREST Online course.)


A backup of this tutorial, should you wish to install it in your own Moodle installation, is available at this link: (.zip). 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)

PREST Theme Files: PREST Theme (513KB)

Guidelines for Tutoring PREST Online course: TutorPrest (580KB)

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)