Discover your course’s value

How do you know whether your training hits the mark? How can you prove that your courses need more funding when the purse strings tighten? How do you measure something as abstract as a training program’s value?

It’s possible. In fact, it’s simple. All you need are my free Training Program Evaluation (TPE) Tools. I have introduced frameworks for program evaluations to organisations that had none, and I like to think I have it down to a fine art. I have refined program evaluation to its essence and captured this in tools that anyone can use. They are simple enough to work anywhere, no matter your course or community.

Many organisations conduct program evaluations; few do it right. Evaluating is a scientific, data-drive process. It’s tempting to leap in and start gathering evidence right away, but it’s important to take your time. My TPE Tools contain guides and templates for developing your evaluation strategy. Part of the strategy document is a logic map; a means of capturing the key information about the course. Everything from why you run the course to how, all in one easy table. Below is what my logic maps often look like:

logic_map_template

A common objection to evaluations – perhaps the main one – is that they are a complicated waste of time. Assessing a course, sifting through volumes of testimonials and anecdotes, just to write a report that leaders ignore? That does sound like a waste of time. But this objection is wrong on two parts. First, an evaluation doesn’t have to be complicated or a time-drain. With the right tools, you can go from start to finish in days (if not hours). Secondly, a well-run evaluation gathers more than just anecdotes. It provides raw data that is impossible to ignore, with stories to soften the message.

Actually, it’s wrong on three counts because the report is valuable to you, too. The process unearths the details of your training program, revealing all its strengths and weaknesses. It reveals what people like and dislike, and what needs to change. Also, as I’ve already mentioned, it supplies proof of the value of the course – or proof that the training needs to change.

Evaluations are fantastic. If a course you value hasn’t had a program evaluation in a while, then it’s stumbling blindly through the community. You owe it to yourself and your learners to make your courses the best they can be – and to have the evidence to back up that claim.

The next post will go over the flow of training program evaluations. You’ll be impressed by how simple and effective they are. Subscribe to my email list to be sure you don’t miss it.

UPDATE: The TPE Tools are now live. Download them here.

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