Evaluation and follow-up

Evaluation covers preparation, decisions, actions and outcomes. This can include:

  • what happened as planned
  • what was unexpected - positive or negative
  • the focus areas (e.g. parts of the regional leadership model or feedback from some stakeholders)
  • the future options and directions

Employees, teams, managers, leaders and other stakeholders can all contribute. Decide on the information sought, then devise a suitable process and questions. Otherwise, the answers can be incomplete, poorly focused or difficult to use.

The New World Kirkpatrick Model

A quick online search will generate many evaluation strategies and examples. Structure promotes depth and relevance, but it does not need to be too complicated. Donald Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model, recently updated and expanded by Kirkpatrick Partners, is widely used for evaluation. While Kirkpatrick Partners refer to evaluation of training, the table below covers blended learning.

Table 1: Levels - The New World Kirkpatrick Model
Level   Focus areas

1

Reaction

Participants’ responses and involvement Potential for them to apply the experience back in the workplace

2

Learning

Participants’ knowledge, skill and attitude Their confidence and commitment to making use of the experience

3

Behaviour

Application in the workplace Structures to support the transfer of learning

4

Results

How well outcomes were achieved Relevant indicators

Consider the objective:

‘To harness regional leadership networks to share case studies and best practice in forums over the next two years.’

Evaluation levels can be matched to objectives and focus areas as follows:

Table 2: Evaluation matched to objectives and focus areas
Level   Focus areas

1

Reaction

Involves more than ‘happy sheets’-quick written comments - or ‘water cooler discussion’ such as ‘how was the forum?’. Targeted questions can be used to explore participants’ experience and involvement in the leadership networks and whether they will be able to apply this in different settings.

2

Learning

Can cover the learning in more detail, plus participants’ confidence about using the experience and when and how they will do so.

3

Behaviour

May occur later to see how well participants actually used their knowledge and experience from the network and what support was available.

4

Results

May be assessed later to review which networks were used, content discussed, forums where this occurred and other results.

Aim for a balance between evaluation questions which are quick to answer (such as a five point scale) and those which take time but give depth. A template with sample questions is at Appendix D.

Evaluation feedback

It is tempting to quickly react to feedback, but it is worth taking time to reflect and allow colleagues to offer perspective.

Positive feedback can confirm that the blended learning approach was well designed and relevant for leaders and the situation. However, consistent positive feedback may mean that people are not being challenged enough, or perhaps what is offered is just entertaining or a change of scenery.

Negative feedback offers opportunities to listen and adjust plans. It can reflect circumstances such as organisational change and confirm why the difficult work is necessary. Sometimes logistics such as communication, location or break times can prevent leaders from being fully engaged - possibly these can be revised.

Neutral feedback may offer little direction either way. Perhaps employees’ motivation is of concern, or the types of evaluation and questions asked need to be revised.

Communication

The next step is to communicate the feedback.

Keeping people informed promotes future involvement. This can include:

  • a feedback summary
  • plans to update or expand current options
  • new blended learning approaches
  • examples of best practice
  • verbatim feedback (de-identified)
  • what participants are now doing or are doing differently
  • connections to regional outcomes, local or agency key performance indicators (KPIs) or strategic plans.

Effective evaluation and communication can reveal new achievements as well.

Celebrating milestones and successes

It is vital to acknowledge individuals and networks of skilled people who support regional leadership development. Celebrating milestones for employees, teams and the agency builds momentum and a sense of leaders working together, even when they cannot all be in the same room. This is a chance to recognise cross-agency collaboration, build partnerships and plan for the future.

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Page last updated 23 July 2014