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Center TRT uses Kirkpatrick's 4-level training evaluation framework as the basis of its training evaluation for the annual Obesity Prevention in Public Health Course. Evaluation plays a central role as Center TRT strives to continuously provide the highest-quality training for practitioners working in nutrition, physical activity, obesity and other chronic disease prevention programs. Evaluation results are used in conjunction with training needs assessment data and input from a key stakeholders advisory committee to clearly identify what worked well and what can be approved upon year-to-year.
To ensure the Obesity Prevention in Public Health Training Course goals and objectives are met Center TRT had designed a multi-level evaluation to determine:
- the extent to which the course increased participant's confidence and eventually the quality and impact of their work in the field related to implementing and sustaining obesity prevention interventions
- the utility of the variety of teaching strategies used during the course
- the strengths and weakness of the course components and organization
With each successive level of evaluation, a more precise measure of the course's effectiveness is obtained.
Reactions: Were the participants pleased with various aspects of the course?
Learning: Did the course effectively teach the core competencies and objectives?
Transfer: Did what was learned at the course transfer into practice at work?
Results: Did the changes resulting from the course achieve expected outcomes?
Framework modified from Kirkpatrick (1994). Evaluating Training Programs
Evaluation Design and Instruments
The on-site course evaluation has several components and corresponding forms. The forms are designed for an automated data entry and analysis system (Teleform). Data from each form will be scanned, allowing us to generate a variety of reports automatically.
These questions provide characteristics of course participants to help us better understand the course evaluation results and how the course meets the needs of different subgroups of participants.
Self-assessment of skills questions:
One of the goals of this course is to enhance the capacity of practitioners to implement and sustain obesity prevention interventions. These questions assess how confident participants feel about performing specific obesity prevention related tasks prior to the course.
Course participants provide feedback daily on each of the sessions determine if session objectives are clearly met, if effective teaching strategies are being used, how well the course topics fit with their work and if there is adequate time allotted for the topics presented.
The overall course evaluation provides valuable feedback on the presentation and organization of the course content; usefulness of readings and handouts; opportunities for group interaction; and the course facilities.
Six months following the training course, participants are contacted to assess the degree to which they were able to use/apply the concepts learned and the extent to which they were able to complete the specific actions outlined in their customized Take Home Action Plan. This is the real test of how successful the course is at influencing practice in the field.