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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Evaluation Introduction

Doing a lot in terms of evaluation lately, here is part of the introduction for an evaluation plan I have developed. Does it make sense to you, would you use this technique?


The primary area of focus for this evaluation plan is to measure the impact of this learning intervention on employee and organizational performance. The impact will be measured using a combination of qualitative and quantitative data gathering techniques.

The qualitative approach will be undertaken using an Appreciative Inquiry perspective. The Appreciative Inquiry perspective on organizational development was first articulated in 1987 by two professors at the Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management. The two professors, David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva, advocated an approach to evaluating and improving organizations that emphasized identification of what is working effectively as opposed to identifying problems. Appreciative Inquiry “involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential.” (See the Appreciative Inquiry Commons.)

The idea is to build on the positive aspects of a learning intervention and to develop ways in which the organization can leverage the potential learning success and expand its impact through examination of how its stakeholders view and value the learning intervention.


Gathering data for Appreciative Inquiry will include the following qualitative techniques: one-on-one structured interviews, focus groups, surveys and observation. The data gathering for the evaluation will be focused on answering impact questions along three dimensions.

These three dimensions are listed in the table below:
  • Adoption—Is the organization using the learning intervention that was developed. Are they adapting it to their needs?
  • Performance-Is the organization/individual performing at a higher level because of the learning intervention?
  • Satisfaction-Are the employees satisfied with their learning experience and see it as having value?

What other dimensions do you use to measure learning outcomes? Do we need to measure both organizational and employee results or just organizational results?

I like thinking about evaluation in a positive manner instead of simply trying to find out what is wrong.

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1 comment:

Lisa Neal said...

I like your approach Karl, and would only add the importance of feedback at different points in time, since there can be big differences immediately following the training and a few weeks later.