Evaluation is an important part of continuously improving your online content. If you do not take the time to carefully assess participant response to your content, you will not be able to improve it nor will you have solid results that you could use to further promote your online training to a variety of stakeholders. In this section, we will overview effective ways to evaluate your online content, discuss continuous improvement, review different types of evaluation, share some important uses of your evaluation results, and discuss the kinds of questions you might ask to conduct a more effective evaluation.
In the GO research, we found that online training providers across Canada were actively involved in evaluation. Virtually all organizations surveyed conducted some kind of evaluation of their online training. Organizations used a variety of formal and informal approaches to evaluation. Formal evaluation was overwhelmingly the most common method used. For more information on the research results of the GO project, you can view our research report online in the GO Resources module.
The evaluation method you select will likely depend on your organizational resources, the purpose of your training, and the length of your training (i.e. will you be offering it on continued basis or is it a one-time only event?). It will also depend upon organizational requirements. For example, colleges and universities formally evaluate all of their training as a matter of course. As well, often project funders will specifically require that a formal evaluation take place as a condition of funding.
Additionally, if this is the first time you are offering online training your evaluation may be more in-depth because undoubtedly there are many things you would like to learn as you jump into this new way to deliver training.