Bright ideas are often the result of “Aha” moments. Aha moments are “The sudden understanding or grasp of a concept…an event that is typically rewarding and pleasurable. Usually, the insights remain in our memory as lasting impressions.” —Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor for Psych Central.
How often have you had an “A-ha” moment when you are evaluating? A colleague had one, maybe several, that made an impression on her. Talk about building capacity–this did. She has agreed to share that experience, soon (the bright idea).
Not only did it make an impression on her, her telling me made an impression on me. I am once again reminded of how much I take evaluation for granted. Because evaluation is an everyday activity, I often assume that people know what I’m talking about. We all know what happens when we assume something……. I am also reminded how many people don’t know what I consider basic evaluation information, like constructing a survey item (Got Dillman on your shelf, yet?).
What is this symbol called? No, it is not the square root sign–although that is its function. “It’s called a radical…because it gets at the root…the definition of radical is: of or going to the root or origin.”–Guy McPherson
How radical are you? How does that relate to evaluation, you wonder? Telling truth to power is a radical concept (the definition here is departure from the usual or traditional); one to which evaluators who hold integrity sacrosanct adhere. (It is the third AEA guiding principle.) Evaluators often, if they are doing their job right, have to speak truth to power–because the program wasn’t effective, or it resulted in something different than what was planned, or it cost too much to replicate, or it just didn’t work out . Funders, supervisors, program leaders need to know the truth as you found it.
“Those who seek to isolate will become isolated themselves.” —Diederick Stoel This sage piece of advice is the lead for Jim Kirkpatrick’s quick tip for evaluating training activities. He says, “Attempting to isolate the impact of the formal training class at the start of the initiative is basically discounting and disrespecting the contributions of other factors…Instead of seeking to isolate the impact of your training, gather data on all of the factors that contributed to the success of the initiative, and give credit where credit is due. This way, your role is not simply to deliver training, but to create and orchestrate organizational success. This makes you a strategic business partner who contributes to your organization’s competitive advantage and is therefore indispensable.” Extension faculty conduct a lot of trainings and want to take credit for the training effectiveness. It is important to recognize that there may be other factors at work–mitigating factors; intermediate factors; even confounding factors. As much as Extension faculty want to isolate (i.e., take credit), it is important to share the credit.