Evaluating Your Training
By Kathy Mort, Director of Curriculum and Training at SOE
Know what you are evaluating
Many people are compelled to evaluate the trainer on how entertaining and content rich the training was. Consider this… sometimes engaging and fun trainings do not result in effective teams. Your challenge will be to decide in advance what your team needs to know, be able to do, and be like as a result of the training, and determine how you can measure that. Trainings should be intentionally designed and evaluated based on predetermined outcomes, targets or goals. Start with the end in mind.
Evaluate or assess the team’s progress toward achieving your target
Evaluation should not be only at the end of training. Check in with team members by using formative assessments throughout the training process to see how they are doing individually and collectively toward the goals. It is the trainer’s responsibility to support the team members, and help them grasp and apply the concepts being presented. It is not enough to “cover” the material. The team members must learn the key concepts and be able to apply what they have learned.
Determine ways to measure team effectiveness in predetermined areas
The real test or the summative assessment comes during the STM. To what degree from what they learned during training make them a blessing rather than a burden on the field? How will you find out?
Create a feedback loop and action steps to adjust the training
How will you use the information you gleaned about the effectiveness of the team on the trip to revise the training for the next trip? In other words, how will the evaluation of team training help make your mission trips better?
Final Consideration: Separate evaluation process
You might consider a separate evaluation process for determining the effectiveness of the presenter in areas such as audience awareness, presentation skills, organization, preparation, and knowledge of the topic. The results of this assessment could be used to help the person improve as a trainer. In some cases, it might help you decide whether or not to use that person as a trainer in the future. Training teams may not be the best fit for that individual. If you plan to use such an evaluation, it will be helpful for the trainer to know areas on which he/she will be evaluated in advance. Areas to be assessed should not be a surprise to the trainer.