Engaging in training is a learning experience for trainers, sponsors of training, and individuals being trained. Evaluating training offers insight into the elements of training that were successful and those that could be improved. Even a highly successful training has room for improvement. Training and evaluation should be approached as a continuous process, in which the knowledge gained from evaluation is applied to improve future training efforts.
Process evaluation provides insight on how well the steps leading to training were performed and how well training was delivered; looking back at the process by which training was developed and delivered enables trainers to consider what could have been done to improve the training. Outcome evaluation allows trainers and sponsors of training to determine the impact of training on learners’ knowledge, skills, and/or performance.
Although the results of either process or outcome evaluation are beneficial alone, when taken together, these results can be even more informative. If evaluation indicates that all steps in the training process were performed well, but the training did not deliver the desired outcomes, trainers and sponsors of training can use that information to consider whether the training conducted was appropriate for achieving the desired results. Did the design of the training suit the subject matter? Did the trainer and the training meet the sponsors’ expectations? Was training the most effective way of building the needed knowledge and skills in the learners? The answers to these and other questions can inform the design and delivery of future training.
This Guide to Improving and Measuring the Impact of Training aims to assist training institutions and programs, trainers, public health organizations, and sponsors of training through the training and evaluation process in order to improve the impact of public health training. Using the strategies and methods offered in this guide may improve individual training activities, but long-term success depends on learning from the experience of applying these concepts in training efforts. After every training session, consider the lessons that have been learned and how the knowledge gained can be used to enhance future training. Establishing a desire and a process for continuously evaluating and improving will help sustain success in public health training.