My name is Awab and I am working as Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist for Tertiary Education Support Project (TESP), at the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Islamabad, Pakistan.
In my experience, the most challenging task in any evaluation is to sell the findings and recommendations to the decision makers and make the evaluation usable. Many evaluations stay on the shelf and do not go beyond the covers of the report as their findings are not owned and used by the management and implementation team.
After conducting the Level-1 &2 Evaluation (shared here earlier https://goo.gl/gyit55), recently we conducted the Level-3 evaluation of the TESP training programs (please find the full report on https://goo.gl/AELJtU). The overall purpose of the evaluation was to know if the learning from training had transformed into improved performance at work place. Also, we wanted to document the lessons learnt from the training and incorporate them in improving strategies for the future training programs.
In order to ensure that when we conduct the Level-3 Evaluation of the training program of TESP, its findings and recommendations are used, we adopted the following strategies:
- Drafted the scope of work for Level-3 Evaluation and shared it with the top management and the implementation team. As a result they clearly knew the purpose and importance of the Level-3 Evaluation in measuring the effects of training on performance of its participants.
- Engaged the implementation team in the processes of drafting the survey questionnaire and finalizing it. As a result, they curiously waited for the evaluation results so that they could learn how well their training program had performed in improving the performance.
- Presented the results overall to make them easy to understand. Then we disaggregated the information and explained the results ‘training theme-wise’ and ‘implementation partner (IP)-wise.’ So, the implementation team knows the problem areas very precisely, avoiding over-generalizations.
- Used data visualization techniques and presented the information in the forms of attractive graphs with appropriate highlights, as shown in the following figure. This made the findings easy to understand.
- Adopted a sandwich approach in presenting the findings. Highlighted the achievements of the training program, before we went to point out the gaps. And closed the presentation with a note of appreciation for the implementation team. This helped the implementation team in swallowing the not-so-good feedback.
All the above tricks helped the management in acknowledging the findings of the evaluation and adopting its recommendations. Interestingly, at the end of our final presentation, the Leader of the training implementation team was the one to lead the applause.
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