At the end of a project, once the artwork has been dispersed, stored
or tossed, it is time to reflect. During the whirlwind of running a
program, you may spend most of your time creating, connecting
with participants, planning the next session and putting out fires.
At the end of a project you have some time to think about all that
happened. It is a time to celebrate the accomplishments, record what
worked and what didn’t, and answer the question, “If I could run this
program again in this community, what one thing could I improve to
ensure even greater success?”
One popular method for evaluating programs is Kirkpatrick’s four levels of program evaluation. This model touches on four areas of investigation to gauge a program’s impact. It does require you to decide and take notice of behaviours throughout the process in order to witness any changes.
- The first level of evaluation is the reaction. At this stage evaluations are based on how participants feel about the experience. Some popular ways to obtain this information are to listen for and record verbal reactions of participants or do post-workshop surveys or interviews.
- The second level of evaluation is measuring for an increase in knowledge. You can compare skills and competencies before and after the workshops by giving each participant a notebook or folder. Date-stamp the completed work, and keep looking for new areas of development.
- The third level of evaluation focuses on behaviour. This requires observing participants and noting any changes. If your program has the aim of changing participant behaviour, keep a log of observed behaviours throughout the workshop series. You may find an increase in respect for each other, the space, themselves, the facilitator or the work naturally develops as they go through the program.
- The fourth evaluation is what has changed within the environment due to participation in the program. This could include decreased vandalism or increased pride in physical space or community. This can be difficult to measure, but can be tracked by getting to know participants and the community they live in, and speaking to other people who are close to them.