A formative evaluation
is one that is done in order to guide training development or to make revisions to existing programs. It can be done at the following times:
(1) When a training program is under development, but not yet ready for pilot, you can implement one or all of the following approaches to gain feedback that helps you make important decisions on how to define and improve the training program:
1. Send draft training materials to target audience members for review and ask questions such as:
- Do you think this technique would work in your practice? Why or why not?
- Do you believe you understand this technique well enough to implement it?
- What could have made it clearer?
2. Send draft training materials to content experts for review and ask questions such as:
- Do you believe this technique is accurately described?
- Have issues in implementing this technique been adequately addressed?
- Do the video role plays reflect best practice in the use of this technique?
3. Send draft materials to key reviewers and walk through it with them on a telephone call, allowing time for discussion and agreeing on recommended revisions.
4. Create a brief “Training Feedback Form
” that is structured as an open-ended series of questions and attached to draft training materials to elicit feedback from busy reviewers.
(2) When a training program is being piloted, be sure to do the following:
1. Provide a post-training questionnaire
with more detailed and open-ended questions that respondents are expected to answer once training is established.
2. Ask a person other than the instructor to lead a discussion with trainees following training. Ask specific questions regarding training and explore answers. Make it clear that you want to hear what trainees really thought.
3. Ask trainees to complete a short questionnaire about training in small groups, then report out for a wider discussion.
(3) When an existing training program is being revised, you can do the following to define elements that need to be changed or up-dated.
1. Convene a group of experts familiar with the subject matter to identify changes in practice, research, population served, consensus around best practices, or other areas pertinent to training. Document how changes should be reflected in the new training and circulate plan for revisions to get wider input.
2. Review summary reports on questionnaires completed by trainees to identify suggestions that can be implemented during the revision cycle.
3. Search online for similar training programs and resources to determine whether there are publicly resources available that could be incorporated as well as case studies, media, or simply good ideas used in the training program.
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