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No. 4, 2008

TB ETN’s Ask the Experts

This feature is brought to you by the TB ETN Membership Development Workgroup.

Question: I am frequently asked for information on how to evaluate training courses. Can you explain the evaluation process and recommend some resources?

Answer: Evaluation is an integral part of training and should take place throughout each phase of the training process, not just as a last step. Following are some ideas to help you with this important activity.

Formative Evaluation
For example, after conducting a needs assessment, share the findings with other experienced program staff to interpret the findings and set priorities for training and education. Have other trainers review written materials before finalizing and printing them for training. This kind of "formative" evaluation helps ensure that you have developed your training with great thought and analysis at each step.

Participant Evaluations – Process, Outcome, and Impact
The most obvious and frequent kind of evaluation occurs immediately after training; participants complete a course evaluation form after the training but before leaving the site. Evaluation can also take place at the end of each day of training through quick "How did it go?" discussions, or even during the evening in organized focus groups with participants. Longer-term, follow-up evaluations conducted 3 months to a year or more after training are also a possibility. These evaluations measure how participants use their newly acquired information and skills in their professional roles.

Training Course Evaluation Model
If you are looking for a theory to guide your evaluation, perhaps the best known training methodology is Kirkpatrick's Four Level Evaluation Model of reaction, learning, performance, and impact. According to this model, participant evaluation should always begin with level one, and then, as time and budget allow, should move sequentially through levels two, three, and four. Information from each prior level serves as a base for the next level's evaluation. Thus, each successive level represents a more precise measure of the effectiveness of the training program, but at the same time requires a more rigorous and time-consuming analysis. The four levels are–

1. Level One – Reaction
Did participants like the course? What did they like or dislike about it? Did the course meet their expectations? Participants can complete a simple questionnaire at the end of the training course.

2. Level Two – Learning
What have participants learned during the course? Knowledge tests can be given to the participants at the beginning and end of the course.

3. Level Three – Performance (behavior)
Did the participants use their new skills, knowledge, and attitudes in their daily work? To what extent have they incorporated the new behaviors into their work? Follow-up can be done with participants at their work sites after they have had some time to incorporate and practice their new skills.

4. Level Four – Impact (results)
Has the training contributed to an improved health status of the people to whom the health workers provide health service? For example, are more cases of TB detected and cured? Attributing changes in disease incidence or other indicators to a single intervention such as training is a very complicated task, although not impossible.

Luckily, there are many great resources to assist you in conducting training course evaluations. For more information on training evaluation and Kirkpatrick’s model, please see the resources listed below.

Training Evaluation – Online Resources for Evaluating Training Effectiveness
Note: These resources were accessible on the internet as of November 6, 2008.

Instructional System Design – Evaluation Phase - Chap VI by Don Clark (includes Kirkpatrick model)

Evaluating Training and Results by Carter McNamara (includes additional links to evaluation websites)

Evaluating Training from SIL International

Training Works! Evaluating Training published by JHPIEGO

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