Program Evaluations are a great way to get feedback on your program. They can help you determine the effectiveness and impact you are having on your clients. Program evaluations are a key opportunity to gather feedback for improvements and for decision-making purposes.
Here are five key reasons to conduct program evaluations.
- To Obtain Insight: Program evaluations are useful to gain participant insights on the program. This is a good opportunity to discover what participants thought and felt about the program as a whole. The feedback gathered also allows you to assess the needs and expectations of participants in regards to the program (structure, facilitator skills, schedule, etc).
- To Improve the Program: One of the primary benefits of program evaluation is that it provides useful data to drive improvements. The information gathered can indicate whether the program serves its purpose, was conducted appropriately and whether it met its goals and objectives. The data can also be used to discover whether the delivery methods and teaching approach were effective. The program’s strengths and areas for improvement spearhead constructive program changes that enhance the quality of facilitation and education.
- To Measure Learning: It is crucial to perform program evaluations to understand the impact on participant learning. This is where you can determine whether the program achieved its participants learning objectives. Have the participants’ knowledge or skills increased by the end of the program? Have the participants learned what the program intended to teach them? Gathering this data allows you to track the impact of the program over time, to see whether there have been any significant changes in their learning.
- For Accountability: Another key reason to conduct program evaluations is for accountability purposes. The feedback obtained is not only used for internal accountability (program and personnel decisions), but also for external accountability. An example of external accountability would be providing reports on program effectiveness to government organizations and funding agencies.
- To Determine Usefulness: Program evaluations also inform decisions on whether to continue, postpone or cancel a program. The evaluation provides useful data on whether the program is meeting its objectives and the needs of participants. The data can be used to determine efficiency by weighing the program costs and resources with participant needs and outcomes (supply and demand).