With the start of the New Year many of us take time to contemplate the year that has just past. We stop to look at what gains we’ve made and where we have made progress. We even reflect upon the areas that we’ve perhaps fallen short and want improvement. Along with our personal reflections and goal setting, this is a great time of the year to evaluate and assess how your programs and training initiatives have gone. Program evaluation is probably the hardest piece of instructional design to stay true and committed to. It takes time, it takes commitment, and it takes having a well-designed program to even know what you want to evaluate!
Today , I was busy reviewing grant proposals. Two things really stood out to me during this process when reviewing the plan for evaluating effectiveness of the proposed ideas:
1) You have to know, precisely, your instructional goal and what the outcome looks like
2) You have to know, precisely, what you want the participants and learners to be able to do when all is said and done.
Proposals that struggled to clearly layout these variables struggled with deciphering how to evaluate the overall effectiveness of their proposed initiatives.
I keep hounding on this, it appears, but it just keeps sticking out like a sore thumb when it comes to identifying effective and quality programs for learning. So what about you? What about your training programs and learning design? Do you know how you be able to tell if you met those goals you sought after? Sure, the learners where able to perform tasks during the training, but what about after the training? Did those skills follow through into the work setting or similar learning context? Have you seen the promised results training was supposed to be the solution to?
For me, I’ve challenged myself and those leaders and SMEs I’ve been working with to take a hard look at how it is really going. By having a good design with clear goals and objectives this has been a very doable task. Actually, we already had the plan in place for both formative and summative evaluation before our training programs went into place. We all know the definition of INSANITY all too well. So perhaps by taking the time to truly evaluate our Goals and program outcomes are we able to avert this scenario.
Happy New Year to you and best of luck to all your initiatives for the upcoming year!