Small bursts of evaluation: mini capacity building trainings
Capacity building doesn’t have to only happen in multi-day or multi-hour training. We’ve seen the benefit of brief, regular training built into monthly calls with partners.
We designate 10-15 minutes of a regularly scheduled meeting for these mini workshops and really focus on designing them to be interesting and generative. The mini trainings open up the conversation (and folks' vision) about what evaluation is and what its role can be in shaping programs. We think of it as both a capacity building and engagement tool. It’s always interesting to hear our partners’ reflections on how they connect a particular approach or method to their work, or their creative ideas for building it into our collaborative project or other efforts beyond our explicit work together.
Some examples of the topics we've covered alongside our partners:
What are mixed methods and why are they important?
Basics of data visualization
Interviewing best practices
Coding and theming qualitative data, etc.
A sample 10-15 minute agenda
Brief intro about the topic (the less we talk, the better!)
An interactive activity gauging initial reactions (e.g. poll, breakout room, chatbox brainstorm)
Discussion of ways to apply the topic to their work
Another brief interactive activity to delve deeper (e.g. silent individual reflection, pair share, group discussion)
Open up for wrap-up thoughts and questions
We try to focus on a topic that feels relevant to the group's work at that moment and move on to others as new topics arise in our work together. The more our partners can shape the topics, the more invested they are in learning. Several mini trainings have helped to shape the next steps in our groups' respective evaluation planning processes.
Things to consider if you’re looking to do 10-minute mini trainings:
Welcome folks beyond the immediate evaluation project team to join in for the first 10 minutes of the call for the training if they’re interested
Make sure participants know they’ll only be getting a snippet in the brief training
Create a slide deck with strong visuals and notes for participants to reference later
Save the slide decks in a shared google folder that functions as a mini capacity building toolkit that builds over time
Include a slide at the end with some resources for folks to learn more on their own
How can you integrate some super short, engaging evaluation training related to your partners’ work into your regular meetings? What are other ideas you have for integrating ongoing, bite-size capacity building into projects?