evaluation strategy: during

These examples could give you some hints of the different types of evaluation you can do during a training course...

 1          On arrival sharing expectations

On the first morning one of the exercises consisted in getting people to express their expectations for the course. This is a way to help the participants settle down at the beginning and to share with each other and the team. As is fairly usual, the themes expressed were not very "deep", but they at least showed that the selection of participants had been pretty correct:

- I want to learn how to run an exchange and get the money for it

- I want to find new friends

- I want to get to know some of the local culture and see Barcelona!

- I'm looking for partners


2          Intersit groups

Expectations develop as the course goes along, and in order to keep track of  them efficiently the team decided to use daily evaluation groups. Each team which uses such groups seems to enjoy inventing a new name for them, and Sonja came up with the idea of "Intersit groups" – different meanings can be found within the term and Sonja thought it was good to bring together ideas of sharing together, being in Sitges (and even sitting together, although nobody forbade the groups also to go for a walk along the beach in the wind!).


Speaking about the day and their different perceptions, the participants had the chance to feel their opinions were taken seriously as their comments were transmitted to the evening team meeting. Any changes in the programme (or technical announcements) as a result of these comments were then communicated to the whole group the following morning.

3          Visual ongoing evaluation – the sea of emotions

Olaf and Sonja put together three flipchart sheets and painted them blue to represent the sea. Then they drew little islands representing different emotions and ways of being, like:

- Thinking

- Togetherness

- Joy

- Working

- Frustration

- Happiness


At the beginning of the course, each person received a little paper boat to decorate and put their names on. Each day, before the Intersit groups, there was a moment for each person to think where they were on the sea of the training course and to place their boats in the correct position. This often proved to be a useful starting point in the Intersit groups as people explained where they were and for which reasons.

4          Targeted interviews with 6 participants

On day four after lunch, Briana and Anna conducted short interviews with the six participants with whom they had already built a relationship before the course. The interviews focused on the following points:

- To which extent the participants felt their needs had been taken into account in the design of the course

- How the participants experienced the group life

- Which challenges they were facing in the course

- Discussing possible involvement in the follow-up to the course


Overall the participants were happy about the interviews and stated that it was a good opportunity to reflect more deeply on their learning. (Although one of them was a bit annoyed about the interview – she wanted a rest before going into Barcelona). Anna and Briana were able to feed the results of the interviews into the team meeting which was held in a beautiful café next to Barcelona's harbour.

5          End of course evaluation

So, the team and participants arrived at the final stage of the course; so many experiences in such a short time; so many conversations; so much to exchange and share. And, even though they were still in the process, there were also good reasons for doing what is often referred to as a "hot evaluation":

- It helped the participants to start putting their learning into perspective

- This was the only chance to have guaranteed feedback from every participant about the course (although follow-up questionnaires and interviews were planned for after the course, the team knew from past experience that you never get 100% replies to e-mail surveys!)


A combination of methods were used during the evaluation afternoon:


a) Olaf's story time

Olaf had proved himself to be a good story teller during the course, so the team asked him to prepare a story of the course. Such courses are very intensive and so much is happening that it is very easy to lose an overview of proceedings, so a story is a useful way to help participants resituate themselves. During 15 minutes he went over the main programme points, highlighted the movement of the participants' boats and didn't forget to mention some of the funny things which had happened (such as the time the waiters crashed into each other with full trays of paella one dinner, or the freezing midnight swim which gave runny noses to one group of excited participants).


b) Questionnaire


The team adapted the SALTO questionnaire for distribution and completion.


c) Active


In order to warm everyone up after all that writing and to allow people to get an overview of opinions, Anna took everyone into one of the large empty hotel rooms to use the Human Dartboard method (see toolbox). Briana took notes of the positions and comments of the participants.


d) Final Intersit Groups


For half an hour the Intersit groups had a last chance to meet. They had two tasks: to look at ways they would transfer their learning back to their organisations; and to produce recommendations for future such courses. Each group had five minutes to report back to the rest. Each team member took notes during their group’s report.


e) Sea of emotions


As a final ritual, each person had the chance to tell where their boats were on the sea and to make a last comment to all present. Briana took notes.



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