On 18 June 2020, Advocates for International Development (A4ID) premiered its ROLE UK Programme workshop on ‘Monitoring & Evaluation Methods for Trainings’. Introducing effective strategies for evaluating the impact of capacity building activities, this interactive workshop is specifically designed for legal and development specialists who plan and deliver legal training activities.
The workshop highlighted the role of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in project planning, exemplified with a practical case study. The 29 participants explored how to design, plan and deliver an M&E strategy; how to select and develop effective M&E tools for training activities; and how to analyse the evaluation data and adapt the training to improve its impact. Prior to the workshop, many of the participants expressed challenges with measuring the long-term impact of trainings, receiving the necessary feedback from respondents, and designing useful surveys.
The Principles of Good Monitoring & Evaluation
Naomi Cantor, Learning & Development Officer at A4ID, delivered the first session of the workshop, which focused on how to plan a useful M&E strategy. Instead of establishing a general roadmap, participants were given the tools to design a bespoke strategy that fits their own needs. The principles for good M&E were covered, after which, participants were asked to apply the following universal M&E questions to a practical case study: ‘Are we doing what we said we would do? Are we making the difference we intended to make? Are we doing the right thing?’ Using different online communication technologies, Cantor ensured that everyone was able to interact and share their opinions and questions.
Joely Thomas, the Monitoring & Evaluation Officer at A4ID, continued the workshop with an in-depth explanation of M&E tools for trainings. The advantages and disadvantages of different M&E methods were discussed, including feedback forms, pre- and post- tests, observations and interviews. Thomas outlined how these tools can be used for measuring both the effect of trainings on participants’ behaviour, as well as the contribution of trainings to the realisation of an organisation’s long-term goals.
To illustrate how a useful feedback survey is designed, attendees were presented with sample feedback questions and asked to discuss their quality. Participants identified why certain questions were problematic and found better ways to phrase them with guidance from Thomas. They were encouraged to apply their new knowledge to the case study by designing their own feedback questions. Described as one of the highlights of the workshop, many of the participants agreed that this activity inspired them to improve their current feedback surveys, as well as implement a more useful M&E strategy, tailored to their own training activities.
Measuring Impact and Adapting Activities
Measuring the long-term impact of a training can be challenging, particularly in the development sector, as change can take several years and might be the result of multiple factors. In order to assess whether training activities are contributing to the overall desired change, it is important to identify clear goals and to follow-up with the participants of the training. During the workshop, participants were encouraged to consider how their training activities can be improved and adapted in response to the M&E data they have collected.
The workshop provided attendees with the knowledge to implement a useful M&E strategy, enabling them to improve and re-design the M&E tools they were already using, while also introducing them to new M&E methods. Participants particularly valued the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge with the use of practical exercises and the interactive elements throughout the workshop.
This free workshop forms part of A4ID’s ROLE UK Programme, by supporting stakeholders to implement best practices for development-centric legal technical assistance. Read the Guide on Maximising Technical Assistance to Improve the Rule of Law to learn how pro bono providers can increase the relevance and effectiveness of their work, while mitigating possible risks. To complement this guide, the Monitoring and Evaluation Toolbox explains how pro bono stakeholders can integrate M&E tools into their work to design, monitor and evaluate projects.
If you are interested in attending this workshop the next time it is scheduled, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: ‘M&E Training’.