Evaluations are conducted to measure the results and progress of an activity or a process against set objectives. Traditionally, evaluation methods include surveys, tests, interviews, physical examinations, and performance assessments. However, a creative or participatory evaluation method can not only measure the same parameters, but it will also empower participants by involving them into the evaluation process. Power sharing, creative interactive activities and redistribution of authority foster a better relationship between the evaluation experts and the evaluated team members.
Are We On Target?
This creative evaluation method can be done for groups of up to 40 people. You will need and easel with paper, colored pens and push pins. Draw five concentric circle on the paper on the easel, similar to a bull's eye. Divide the circle in pie-shaped parts and identify each one with the criteria you wish to evaluate such as satisfaction with a program, ease of use and quality of service. Give each participant one push pin per theme. Give the team 10 minutes to reflect on the themes and to place their push pins at a level that they believe is appropriate; the closer they place pins to the center, the higher their satisfaction levels are. After all the pins are in, take note of the general placement and give a summary of the results to the group.
For the “Tell me...” exercise, you will only need small cards and pens. This exercise can be done with groups of up to 20 people. Give each participants a few of the small cards and a pen. Post-it notes would work for this. Ask the participants to write down a key lesson learned or a key satisfaction point on their cards. Wait up to 10 minutes to give everyone a chance to think about their answers. Then ask the participants to read what they wrote and to post their card in a designated area on a main wall. Once the majority of the participants have read their evaluations, ask the reminder of the group to add their evaluations to the wall.
Complete the Sentence
Use this creative evaluation method for larger groups. On large sheets of paper posted on a room's walls, write open-ended sentences directed at the evaluation criteria you wish to examine. For example, “The program could be improved by...” or “I enjoy working for this company because...”. Distribute sheets of paper and ask participants to complete the sentences that they can see on the walls. After 10 to 15 minutes, ask a few participants to read their answers. Collect all the sheet and make a summary that can be passed on to participants later on.
Fishes and Boulders
Prepare yourself for this exercise by making fishes and boulders on paper. This creative evaluation method is best to use if you wish to evaluate the barriers and supports of a specific program, training or policy. Start by dividing your participants into 4 groups. Each person should be given 2 or 3 fishes and 2 or 3 boulders. Ask the participants to write down barriers on the boulders and supports on the fishes. Then post the comments on a wall with the fishes contained in the boulders to create a stream of comments. In each group, ask the participants to discuss their experiences of supports and barriers. One person per group should be taking notes of the comments that can be included in the final evaluation report.