Summary

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Effective training and technical assistance providers embrace evaluation and outcome measurement, set high expectations for their own performance, and ensure that they are offering clients the best value. Logic models provide a great starting point for organizations, as they help you to graphically lay out your organization’s resources, activities, outputs, and outcomes. Once you’ve identified these elements, Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation provide a framework around which to analyze and explore these offerings. Tests for learning and behavior can provide evidence that you are meeting short-term and intermediate outcomes, while tests for results eventually prove the accomplishment of long-term objectives.Thorough evaluation processes take time, effort, and patience. However, when done properly and consistently, evaluation can provide you with the edge over your competitors. Methodical evaluation plans and regular analysis can provide your organization with calculations of your value not only to your clients, but to the larger community you serve. Carefully consider the costs and benefits of evaluation, and develop a plan that meets your expectation, yet works within your organization’s budget. Thank you for taking the time to learn about Evaluating Training and Technical Assistance.

Let improvement drive your evaluation process.

Effective training and technical assistance organizations develop cultures of constant improvement and are constantly striving to make their offerings more convenient and relevant. Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation can help your organization to identify both small and large changes that, when implemented, can significantly impact the quality of services you provide.

Whether evaluation results are positive or negative, they can help your organization to fine-tune training and technical assistance processes. To keep this drive for improvement at the forefront, end all evaluations with some variation of the question, “How can we make this program more helpful?”

Consider cost versus benefits.

When crafting an evaluation plan, an organization should always consider costs versus benefits.  Consider the who, what, when, and how of your evaluation plan.

  • Who -- Who from your staff will conduct evaluations? Will you hire an outside consultant, or utilize internal staff? How much does it cost to utilize this person’s time?
  • What -- What are you evaluating? What sort of level of effort is required to evaluate for reaction, learning, behavior, and results? Can you incorporate these evaluations into your organization’s pre-existing training and technical assistance offerings?
  • When -- Does the project have a set timeline and budget? How can you work within these parameters, but still collect relevant data?
  • How -- How will you collect evaluation data? Will you need to purchase new survey software? Will you encounter travel costs in order to conduct on-site observations with clients?

Consider the size and projected impact of the training and technical assistance you are providing, and develop a complementary evaluation plan that works within your available resources.