Abby Sabey, Programme Lead, ARC West Training and Capacity Building, shares her experience of evaluating the impact of a training intervention.
“[I have accessed] more reliable evidence as a result.”
“The workshop made me go out and check some of these things and not take things at face value.”
These quotes from participants reflect the longer term impact of the first training workshops we offered to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as part of a drive to build an evidence culture in commissioning, a joint programme of work with the West of England Academic Health Sciences Network (WEAHSN).
It was nerve-wracking to go into each workshop and try and convey why using evidence in decision-making is important to audiences who already have too much to do. Nevertheless, the workshops went down well.
I captured some simple follow-up data so that I could share my experiences with others working in this field. Calling it an evaluation makes it sound more formal than it was – it was done in a pragmatic way with the time that was available and without funding. However, it captures some of the features of the training that were successful and tells an interesting story about what was learned.
For me, it highlights the value of training as a platform for starting conversations about evidence, which can sometimes be the catalyst to change a person’s way of thinking. It is also a way to bring the expert into the room – in this case the librarians who are experts in finding evidence.
But it also highlights the value of building in light-touch evaluation to a programme like this. When there isn’t scope – or sometimes need – for a full scale ‘before-and-after’ type evaluation, there are simple questions we can ask that are still useful and maybe this will encourage others to consider a pragmatic view of evaluation.
An evaluation of a training intervention to support the use of evidence in healthcare commissioning in England