Innovative Impact Assessment in Humanitarian Training

RedR UK and the University of Sussex re designing and testing innovative methods to better understand participants’ learning and changes in behaviour following humanitarian capacity building interventions.

How best to evaluate the outcomes of humanitarian training is a long-standing debate among training providers. Most, including RedR, use Kirkpatrick’s 4-level model:

  1. Reaction by participants to training;
  2. Learning expressed as participants’ improved knowledge and skill;
  3. Behaviour as the degree to which participants apply learning at work, and;
  4. Results showing the degree to which targeted outcomes occur, as a result of the training (Kirkpatrick, 2009).
RedR Refugee Response training, course participants, Lesbos. Credit Amy Murrell

RedR Refugee Response training, course participants, Lesbos. Credit Amy Murrell

It is easy and very common to collect information at the end of a learning event to understand participants’ reaction, but measuring outcomes beyond level 1 is difficult, particularly for external training providers who have only a short term relationship with the learner. Knowing what is happening beyond level 1 is necessary, though, to improve training provision and fulfil donor requirements. Existing methods rely on pre/post testing which is time and resource intensive, and not always appropriate for short and behavioural focused courses.

In response to these challenges, in 2015 RedR carried out a review of its training impact and in 2016, it partnered with the University of Sussex to extend this research, with a particular focus on how impact measures can be built into training design and delivery. As a result, we published a recommendation paper that identifies innovative methodologies to increase the impact of training on its participants and new ways to measure this more accurately and efficiently (Robertson and Schwittay, 2016).

 RedR group exercise, personal security training, Kenya. Credit: Nathan Siegal

RedR group exercise, personal security training, Kenya. Credit: Nathan Siegal

Now, with support from the HIF, we will be further exploring three types of methodology: 1. role playing/simulation and their video capture, 2. reflective practices, 3. ongoing engagement. These methodologies will be prototyped through conversations with trainers and other training providers and then trialled at RedR training interventions in three regions (Europe, South Asia and Latin America) to gain user feedback.

We hope that this process will enable us to identify ways in which to more effectively capture information about participants’ level of learning, behaviour change and broader results after taking part in humanitarian capacity building.

Furthermore, beyond just gathering the data, we believe that some methodologies have the potential to support and increase learning and behaviour change during a capacity building intervention.
Our findings will be shared in Spring 2018 for consultation with other training providers, and rolled out throughout RedR and our network.

Elrha is hosted by Save the Children, a registered charity in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570).

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