People often ask me what is a good indicator of impact…I usually answer world peace…then I get serious.
I won’t get into language today. Impact–long term outcome. For purposes of today, they are both the same: CHANGE in the person or change in the person’s behavior.
Paul Mazmanian, a medical educator at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, wanted to determine whether practicing physicians who received only clinical information at a traditional continuing medical education lecture would alter their clinical behavior at the same rate as physicians who received clinical information AND information about barriers to behavioral change. What he found is profound. Information about barriers to change did not change the physician’s clinical behavior. That is important. Sometimes research yields information that is very useful. This is the case here. Mazmanian, etal. (see complete citation below) found (drum roll, please) that both groups of physicians were statistically significantly MORE likely to change their clinical behavior if they indicated their INTENT TO CHANGE their behavior immediately following the lecture they received.
The authors concluded that stated intention to change was important in changing behavior.
We as evaluators can ask the same question: Do you intend to make a behavior change and if so, what specific change.
Albert Bandura talks about self-efficacy. That is often measured by an individual’s confidence to be able to implement a change. By pairing the two questions (How confident are you that…and Do you intend to make a change…) evaluators can often capture an indicator of behavior change; that indicator of behavior change is often the best case for long-term outcome.
I’ll be at AEA this week. Next week, I’m moving offices. I won’t be blogging.
Mazmanian, P. E., Daffron, S. R., Johnson, R. E., Davis, D. A., & Kantrowitz, M. P. (1998). Information about barriers to planned change: A randomized controlled trial involving continuing medical education lectures and commitment to change. Academic Medicine, 73(8), 882-886.