How Do You Know They Know? Methods for Evaluating Teaching and Training

Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi, MEd.

Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi, MEd

Education is a core component of health literacy. We routinely rely on health curricula that are valuable for students, but that also have measurable outcomes — a crucial tool for quality improvement and for seeking funding.

This session helped attendees better understand the principles of adult education and demonstrated techniques that could be easily and readily measured. The application of these theories to curriculum development is two-fold. First, the pros and cons of various curriculum development methods should be assessed and the appropriate method chosen for the context. Second, the objective of the education needs to be identified. 

In setting curriculum objectives, ask: what will participants know, and at what point will they know it? This question focuses on the audience, not on the curriculum.

She provided steps to help create measurable observation criteria for evaluation:

  • Include action verbs in these objectives and target one expectation at a time.
  • Match the goals to the learning activities and the learning strategy.
  • Identify the indicator that the learning has been accomplished, making the objectives achievement based and measurable.
  • Be careful to include only one indicator at a time.

There are two main types of evaluation that can be used: formative evaluation and outcome-based evaluation. It may include alternative assessments such as telling stories or “teach-backs,” portfolio review, self-assessment, or peer review. These are methods of goal-free program evaluation in which the evaluator does not know program goals, and are related in particular to Transformation Learning theory.