It’s important to know how effective your training has been before making plans for next time, says Wendy Whittaker-Large…
The last piece in the training jigsaw is feedback. How do you know that your learning objectives were met? How do you know what you should improve or alter next time? There are two main ways of thinking about evaluation – formative and summative. A good way of remembering the difference between formative and summative assessment is that formative is done whilst the ideas are forming and summative is when the ideas are summed up. In other words, you need to incorporate different methods of evaluation at the beginning, middle and end of your training to ensure that it meets the desires and needs of the learners.
● Using post-it notes, right at the beginning of the session ask participants to identify one thing they want to get out of the session.
● Group the statements together.
● In small groups, ask participants to rate a series of statements about training in order of importance for them that day (e.g., to ‘Learn something new’, ‘Gain new ideas’, ‘Have time to reflect on my own practice’, ‘Deepen my knowledge’, etc.)
● Write some learning objectives on large sheets of paper and hang them around the room. Give participants a coloured dot (or two) and ask them to choose the two most important statements for them, by placing their dots on the appropriate sheets.
● Create a short questionnaire that asks learners to comment on the content, style and potential impact of the training.
● Create an online survey (such as surveymonkey.com) that could be emailed to participants a few days after the training.
● Organise a small group discussion, where learners write down their comments about the training, including how it can be improved and what they would tell someone else about the session. (These statements can be mixed up and read out by another group to avoid embarrassment!)
Formative feedback can take place at different points throughout the session (for example, after lunch), whereas summative happens at the end. Remember to refer back to any formative evaluation at the end of the session, so that learners can identify how far they have had their personal goals met and what action they need to take next. Use any feedback you get to reflect on your training so that you can continually improve too.
Arrived late? Read the first part of Wendy’s series.
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