The primary reason for conducting evaluation is to improve the quality of a project throughout its analysis, design, development, and implementation stages. Too often, organizations only conduct evaluation as a requirement by a funding source, losing sight of its main purpose of project improvement. ATEEC's instructional design team has conducted evaluation at both the program and project levels; internally and externally; at formative and summative levels; and using mixed-method (qualitative and quantitative) approaches. ATEEC views evaluation, not as a separate function, but as a cyclical process performed throughout a project.
Additionally, evaluation provides information needed to communicate to a variety of stakeholders about a project. Reporting on the outcomes of a project has increasingly become a requirement by business, industry, and government funding source stakeholders in order to gauge return on outcomes to determine product usability, quality, and credibility.
ATEEC instructional designers have extensive training and experience in conducting evaluation studies and can provide this service for many different types of organizations. For a more in-depth look at evaluation, ATEEC recommends several online guides, including:
- The 2002 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation (from the National Science Foundation)
- NLG Project Planning: A Tutorial (from the Institute of Museum and Library Services)
- "Evaluation Publications" available at the University of Wisconsin Extension Program Development and Evaluation Unit
Program and Project Evaluation
ATEEC provides evaluation services at different levels for different types of clients. We cover three basic levels of evaluation: program, project, and component. Program-level evaluation is a coordinated approach to assess a specific area or category. Project-level evaluation would assess any subcategories within that program. Component evaluation takes a look at a more specific activity within a project. An example of these levels that most people are familiar with comes from the world of education: a college math program is at the program level, an algebra course is at the project level, and a lesson on quadratic equations is at the component level. An example in the business world might be a company’s health and safety training at the program level, a course on hazardous materials identification at the project level, and conducting a hazardous materials inventory at the component level.