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Evaluation Helps NWCPHP Meet Training Needs of Public Health Professionals

In spring 2012, NWCPHP evaluated its online as part of a continuous effort to measure the effectiveness of all activities.

This spring, NWCPHP evaluated its online as part of a continuous effort to measure the effectiveness of all activities.

June 4, 2012

NWCPHP is committed to evaluation, both its internal evaluation and providing evaluation services to public health agencies. This spring, NWCPHP evaluated its approximately 30 online courses as part of a continuous effort to measure the effectiveness of all activities.

NWCPHP began more than 20 years ago with in-person training opportunities only. Based on the schedules and needs of the public health workforce, online courses now complement in-person training opportunities. This spring, the NWCPHP evaluation team took yet another look at how well these tools are meeting the needs of its highly trained, professional audience.

The evaluation team received over 50 course evaluations from participants during this past grant year, 2010–2011. With reports now complete and feedback compiled, the training team has a file of information that directs their planning process, so they can better meet the needs of learners.

“It’s just good business,” says Luann D’Ambrosio, NWCPHP Associate Director and head of the evaluation team. “For us, it’s a commitment to continuous quality improvement. We’re in the business of training, and we rely on this to measure how well we’re achieving this for our audience.”

In the most recent evaluation, NWCPHP learned that:

  • The courses provide the right level of content to stretch the skills of trained professionals
  • The skills learned are being applied to everyday work
  • Older courses are still useful

Past evaluations have highlighted learners’ needs for integrating real-world examples and hands-on learning techniques. The training team has responded to this in recent course development.

“We now see that, while learners are always wanting more and more complex, real-world examples, that feedback has been coming in less often with the newer courses,” commented D’Ambrosio. “That lets us know that we’re starting to reach the level that our learners require for the best experience.”

Online Courses Available at No Cost

NWCPHP online courses are all developed with the support of public health training grants and are available at no cost to the public. To take an online course, participants create a username and password. The learning management system can then track their progress through the course, which allows participants to save their spot if taking the course in more than one sitting. NWCPHP always welcomes suggestions for new or existing courses, and values all feedback from each person who takes the time to fill out the post-course survey.

Evaluation Support for Your Agency

The NWCPHP evaluation team conducts similar projects both internally and externally. Evaluation efforts focus on three areas: evaluating public health programs, public health training needs, and public health trainings. If an agency is looking to better integrate evaluation into its processes, NWCPHP offers evaluation tools and assistance, many of which are available at no cost. These services help agencies assess if programs are meeting or exceeding standards, engage in continuous quality improvement, and prepare for accreditation.

If you have any questions about training or evaluation services, contact:

Luann D’Ambrosio, NWCPHP Associate Director
ldambr@u.washington.edu
206.543.2659

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