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Evaluation Targets

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Ann Davis
23 February 2013

When I am reviewing a course for a colleague, I will often start with some basic questions to determine exactly what I should be looking for.

  1. Who is the target audience?  Knowing this will assist in determining if the content is on target for the person taking the course.  For example, if the course is about a new product or service, and the target audience is the person typing the order, then they should have basic information about the product, how to issue the order, but they do not need technical information on the product. A second consideration with the audience is their availability. Can the student easily be pulled away from the job to take the course? Is their a constraint on how long they can be away to take the training? Can the student complete the training at their desk, do they need to be in a classroom, will they have to travel? 
  2. Ultimately, what is the goal of the training?  Does the student simply need to know that something is available? Do they need to be able to answer basic questions about the content?  Do they need to be able to demonstrate that they can perform a task (and to what level)?
  3. Audience size.  Overall, how many students will be taking the course, and how many per session? 
  4. Student participation.  What is the level of participation that you want the student to be involved in?
  5. Course length.  Is the content I am reviewing the entire original content, or was some of it removed due to a change in the amount of time orignally alloted for the course?  Was the removed content fluff (nice to know), or was is something more important and was another method used to provide the information (job aid, posted t website, etc)?
  6. Audience Style.  Is this an audience who needs to be entertained, or is it one who just needs the facts?  Does the content and activities reflect the style of the audience?

These are often the same questions that are asked at the beginning of the project when discussing it with the business unit that is requesting the course.  By asking the questions at the beginning and end, you can see if the end result is the same as what was requested at the beginning of the project and what changed along the way.

Another thing I ask is what will happen after the class?  Will the student be given support from their supervisor?  Should supplemental materials be provided for additional coaching?

Ultimately, there are many ways to evaluate a course and many questions to ask.  Most often however, simply ask the question, "what is the ultimate goal of the course?"

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