Assessment Methods to Collect Data for Evaluation of the Training Program
From multiple assessment tools available, training instructors of the Organization for Strong and Thriving Africa (OSTA) could avail themselves the two methods. These two assessment methods are the observation of those employers who have undergone training and direct evaluation of employees’ performances on the part of trainers. The gist of the former method lies in garnering information, both through seeing and listening (Waddill & Marquardt, 2011). One of the crowning qualities of an observation is that it captures information that is difficult to obtain through written texts and other assessment methods (Kozlowski & Salas, 2009). An observation enables those in charge of conducting and evaluating training programs to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the progress that has been made, if any, by the participants of the training program. Judging by the highest standards, it is one of the most effective assessment tools, but also one of the most ponderous and time-consuming. At the same time, observation as an assessment method has its drawbacks too. For instance, it is recommended that a seasoned, external observer should monitor the post-training performance of the employees, which may be quite expansive.
Direct evaluations of employee performances on the part of trainers, the second assessment method chosen for the purposes of this paper, may also yield a rich harvest of results. It is a matter of conventional wisdom that the vast majority of trainees holds career professionals in high esteem and value their opinion. As a result, feedback from the training instructors would be both appreciated by the trainees and relevant to evaluation of the training program. Moreover, this assessment tool could provide a thorough, holistic view of the trainees’ achievements over the course of the training program (Kozlowski & Salas, 2009). In many cases, an experienced instructor would get to know their trainees well enough to judge if they have made any remarkable strides in performing their duties.
Analysis of the Components, Challenges, and Benefits of the Recommended Assessment Tools
At first glance, an observation seems to be a simple process to carry out. In addition to the expanses that might eventuate, an observation is also a very extensive tool and must be meticulously planned. It is crucial that a focus of the assessment should be determined in the first place. With the evaluation questions that need to be answered through observation in mind, it is important to select focus areas for the data collection (Chan, 2009). Once the evaluation has been focused, those in charge of the training program evaluation should come up with the specific items for which data is to be gathered. Considering that it is virtually impossible to monitor the post-training activities of all the trainees, it is imperative that those who have been chosen for the observation are representative of the larger group of trainees and will provide an understanding of the situation observed (Chan, 2009). Next, although the preference is shown for a seasoned, external observer, other professional staff members and volunteers can act in the capacity of observers. If the chosen observers do not have the right background for this job, they need to be trained, so that data collected would be consistent and of high quality. Generally, the level of training would hinge on the complexity of the data collection (Chan, 2009). Provided that all these components of the observation have been designed properly, the whole process would be less susceptible to challenges, which are otherwise rife. For instance, it is not always easy to unravel the meaning behind certain behaviors of the trainees by scrutinizing these behaviors from afar. In case everything has been done right, training managers can derive numerous benefits from the observational data collection. One example of this would be the fact that that the results of the observation do not depend on the willingness or ability of people to provide information. Similarly, observers know for sure what the participant of the training program do and, thus, do not have to rely on what others say they do.
It should be noted that direct evaluation of employees’ performances on the part of trainers is also an extraordinarily fecund assessment method to collect data for evaluation of certain training program. Even though its structure is not as complex as that of the observational data collection, it is as efficient. Direct evaluation by trainers is in some ways the most challenging of assessment methods (Kozlowski & Salas, 2009). Unlike observations, which allow assessors to monitor the trainees during their total immersion in the work, evaluations by the training instructors attenuate this possibility. Consequently, this significantly limits the value of the data collected, as well as leaves interpretations of the findings open to challenge. Nonetheless, assessing training programs through direct evaluations by trainers has its advantages. Indeed, this assessment tool enables those responsible for the training program evaluation to glean information otherwise unacceptable, thereby giving them a clear insight into the whys and wherefores of the trainees’ peculiar behaviors.
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Assessment Methods for the Project
In addition to the abovementioned assessment methods, the OSTA could also benefit from reaction questionnaires and portfolios. According to the generally accepted definition, a reaction questionnaire is a kind of the trainees’ self-report that is aimed at determining their attitudes towards and satisfaction with the training process. The participants of the training program answer questions designed to test their core information literacy competency skills. According to Blanchard & Thacker (2013), “The data from a reaction questionnaire provide important information that can be used to make the training more relevant, the trainers more sensitive to their strengths and shortcomings, and the facilities more conducive to a positive training atmosphere”. In contrast to the two assessment measures hereinabove described, a reaction questionnaire attempts to evoke a response from the trainees rather than trainers. It is critical to develop appropriate, clear-cut questions and to provide the trainees with a possibility to write down additional comments, if needed (Blanchard & Thacker, 2013).
A portfolio is a bit more complicated assessment method, for it requires a lot of efforts on the part of trainees to create an effective culminating experience. Simultaneously, it provides a multi-level view of the trainees’ performance and endows them with the possibility of integrating new knowledge. What is more important, the trainees themselves can see progress as they reflect on the products in their portfolios. However, since developing a portfolio consumes much time of the trainees, they may be reluctant to go ahead with this option.