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Guide to Improving and Measuring the Impact of Training
Using This Guide
This online Guide to Improving and Measuring the Impact of Training is intended for training institutions and programs, trainers, public health organizations, and sponsors of training interested in improving and measuring the impact of their training efforts. Within this guide, the training process is divided into five main stages or activities:
Each of these sections includes strategies and methods aimed at enhancing training activities, as well as references to literature that supports the strategies and methods and provides examples of the application of training and evaluation techniques. Each section builds on the previous sections, reflecting the process by which trainers move through the steps of developing, delivering, and evaluating training. Readers can move through the sections of the guide in this order or jump to a particular section of interest using the menu on the left.
 
This guide will continue to grow as new resources are discovered and added. Suggestions for additional resources, feedback on the guide, and questions are welcome and may be sent to Kathleen Amos at kamos@phf.org.
 
 
Background on Development of This Guide
High-quality training is vital to maintaining a competent public health workforce. In today’s rapidly changing environment, public health professionals are continually developing their knowledge and skills to meet the needs of their communities. Maximizing the impact of public health training opportunities helps ensure the greatest return on the limited time and other resources available for professional development, and measuring the effectiveness of training efforts can both demonstrate the value of those resource investments and improve the quality of future training.
 
The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice (Council on Linkages) has long recognized the importance of high-quality training. To support the ongoing training of public health professionals, the Council on Linkages launched the Public Health Training Impact initiative and created this online Guide to Improving and Measuring the Impact of Training to help developers, users, and sponsors of training improve and measure the impact of training. Strategies and methods related to training and evaluation of training were developed by the Training Impact Task Force, which included 11 professionals with expertise in training, evaluation, and public health, and are based on expert opinion and published literature. Literature on training and evaluation of training was collected with the assistance of the National Library of Medicine. Funding to produce this online resource was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement with the Public Health Foundation.
 
In creating this resource, the Training Impact Task Force focused primarily on strategies to improve the impact of training, taking the position that designing high-quality training is the most effective way to enhance the potential impact of that training. The resources an organization has to evaluate training may be limited, and evaluation following training, while helpful and necessary for improving future efforts, has little effect on the impact of the training activity being evaluated. To have the greatest impact, the groundwork for effective training and evaluation must be in place from the start of the training process, and efforts must be monitored as the development and delivery of training progresses.
 
This guide offers training institutions and programs, trainers, public health organizations, and sponsors of training assistance in navigating the training and evaluation process. It focuses on techniques to improve training activities and determine whether those activities have the desired effects in order to help organizations and individuals in developing and delivering effective training efforts.
 
A set of principles developed by the Training Impact Task Force serves as a foundation for the strategies and methods within this guide:
  • Training is an investment for all involved: the learner and his/her organization, the course developer, the trainer, and the organization sponsoring the training.
  • The audiences and resources available for training should be considered at every step in the process of developing, delivering, and evaluating training.
  • When appropriate, make use of existing training resources and activities. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
  • Providing high-quality training requires time and effort. The quality of the product depends on the quality of the resources devoted to producing it.
  • No one can, nor should, apply every strategy for enhancing training in every training effort. Appropriate strategies will vary depending on the circumstances.
  • Training efforts can be very effective without being textbook perfect. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good – or the good enough.
  • Evaluation is critical. There is a need to demonstrate that training is being done well and that there is value in training efforts.
  • Effective evaluation begins when the training process is initiated, not completed. Evaluation cannot be an afterthought.
  • Each training activity offers a learning opportunity for the trainer, as well as the trainees. Trainers can use the knowledge gained each time they conduct a training session to improve future training efforts.
Considering each of these principles as training is developed, delivered, and evaluated will help ensure training that is focused, oriented toward the learners, and appropriate to the environment in which it is occurring.

 
Guide to Improving and Measuring the Impact of Training