Once the tool has been designed, test out a draft with a few people before you implement it. For example, your event Planning Committee, colleagues or individuals with no related experience with your draft. Different backgrounds will provide valuable perspectives when pilot testing an evaluation. Establish a critical path that you can follow for completing each task. Confirm who will be involved and when for each step of the evaluation process. Create your own list or use the template provided (see Template: Critical Path for Evaluation Process), adjusting as needed. Elements to consider in your critical path include:
- Test out a draft evaluation tool with your Planning Committee, colleagues and/or individuals with no related experience with your draft
- Distribute the finalized evaluation. If you want to know about participants’ immediate perspectives on their learning, distribute the evaluation right after the educational event; in terms of determining longer-term impact, you can distribute the evaluation after 21 days; however, you may have a diminished response rate.
- Organize technological support (e.g., software, courseware, web links, whiteboard, computers, cables, speaker phones, mobile devices, audio-recorders, projection equipment)
- Manage logistics. Reserve location and refreshments if using a focus group, ensuring accessibility for people with different abilities
- Arrange human resources (e.g., who will be facilitating, managing technology behind the scenes, inputting/reviewing/collecting responses/data?)
- Access flip charts, pads made of recycled paper, handouts of questions, markers that are nontoxic and unscented, pens/pencils
- Provide pitchers of water and glasses on tables
- Identify directions to parking areas, public transportation
- Thank respondents for participating in the evaluation
- To increase the number of participants’ responses, some session leaders try to offer an incentive – real or imagined! Some groups love chocolate; others enjoy humorous rewards such as the “suggestion” of a car; and some appreciate reminders at the final session break that an evaluation is forthcoming (with plenty of time to complete) and what it means for the future of educational events.