Recently on two different training courses (Erasmus+ funded A+ Plus Group Work coordinated by APS La Fenice and European Youth Foundation funded The Wizards of Youth Work coordinated by YEU International and OPENS 2019) my co-trainer colleagues including Alex Jbeily and I were looking for a more unique and informative visual method of evaluation through graphics. For a number of years we had got used to the standard ones such as Dartboard / Targets and Thermometer; we were looking for something that provided us with some more tangible and usable information outside of a written form narrative.
The help actually came in the form of a book called Visual Thinking: Empowering People & Organizations through Visual Collaboration by Willemien Brand. Bought by chance; the book was packed with great graphics and ideas for use in training course including ones fantastic for evaluation. A highly recommended book for trainers and facilitators in non-formal education as well as youth workers, it can help even the worst of illustrators (like myself!) to develop clear, fun and engaging graphics for their participants in a simple and effective manner. Here are some of the items we used:
Action Arrow Road:
The action Arrow road is used gather information on what the participants are going to do next after the training. What are they going to put into action, as such. It is a nice simple visual method to collect a basic understanding on how they will use their learning, action points or tools developed on a training course, seminar or youth exchange in future. Not without its issues it does lay itself open to some simple jokes by participants such as 'holiday' as seen in the picture, but what we could also take from this picture is that participants were keen to implement the Quality Label / Quality Youth Work Framework developed on the training course withing their organisations.
The Input - Output Head/Brain:
This graphic is to understanding which specific items and activities they took part in on the mobility course they believe they will use in their day to day professional life back home. It con be considered somewhat similar to the action arrow, but rather than what they will do with their learning as a whole, this looks at what specific activities they will use. Its a great insight into what types of activities are useful to such participants at the time. The graphic is a metaphor for senses on the left (what they saw, heard, smelt, tasted, felt) and then the impact on the brain and what the brain will reuse its its life on the right. From this sheet we saw that the activity of 6 Hats was popular!
The WOW graphic is used to gather what is / was a WOW! moment during the training course / seminar / youth exchange. Whether it be an individual comment or conversation or an activity as well as a physical experience. This is a good way to gauge as a trainer what impacted your participants or excited them the most during the period of the activity. It is always good to keep note of these for follow up events or future activities as it can help one to continually deliver more dynamic activities with a higher impact threshold. As can be seen here the self-assessment tool for youth work AKA BASK Spiders seemed to have a large number of WOW! moments on the participants.
The Trash Can:
One that can be somewhat depressing as a trainer sometimes it is also one of the most important an accurate of graphics to be used. This is simple and easy way to see exactly what the participants want to 'throw away' from the the mobility course. This includes what they really didn't like, what they though was not useful or what really annoyed them. Again it can be mused by participants to get personal vendettas out or make jokes about items beyond ones control such as mosquito's. It is very important to know what participants did not like; to try and adapt or remove such issues in future activities and follow-ups. It is important not to take such items personally, but reflect upon their use and what could be change or is relevant?
This was one graphic I was unsure to use, yet when I did I found it actually incredibly useful in both activities I used it. This is simply a spot to write down anything you think should be mentioned, but was not available to do so in other areas of the evaluation. This can be basic things like thank yous and comments about the city just for participants to have an official outlet for such things to additional comments about the activities they learnt and feedback on facilitation. In the other version of this graphic from another course there was a lot of personal information shared that is best not shared online, but as a trainer was extremely useful for my personal reflection and future use.
Hot or Not:
The graphic is really good for if you have had tangible or specific outcomes or creations made on the mobility course. However, it can easily be adapted for assessment of different sessions and activity of the training course / seminar / youth exchange. For the purposes of this evaluation it was for three tangible outcomes of the evaluation / dissemination seminar of group work activities and session plans developed on the first part of the project. To do this the participants developed a movie, a poster and four handbooks. As can be seen the group enjoyed the more interactive aspect of making a movie far more than the more formal aspect of writing a handbook!
The Authentic Pizza Graphic is the more formal graphic of them all and has been well-used in the past. Simply a pizza containing a number a different slices of different 'flavours' each flavours 'goodness' is determined by how close the toppings are to the centre. If they are in the centre the flavour is fantastic, if they are near the crust, the flavour is terrible! In this pizza we had 8 slices / flavours; Food, Results, Location, Activities, Working Space, Accommodation, Group and Home Actions. As this was the second part of a project 'Home Actions' was to evaluate the group work activities they had done at home in-between mobilities. From this pizza we can determine the participants generally satisfied with the flavours!
In general this method is a great part of creating a fulfilling evaluation and is fun for the participants to engage in. I personally find this useful and will continue to use it in future. I hope this has been useful for any of you reading and please let me know if you use this or anything similar as well as your experience using it!
Thank You / Diolch yn Fawr / Фала Многу
Daniel John Carter
Данче: Educational Solutions
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