Appleton Greene corporate training programs are all process-driven. They are used as vehicles to implement tangible business processes within clients’ organizations, together with training, support and facilitation during the use of these processes. Corporate training programs are therefore implemented over a sustainable period of time, that is to say, between 1 year (incorporating 12 monthly workshops), and 4 years (incorporating 48 monthly workshops). Your program information guide will specify how long each program takes to complete. Each monthly workshop takes 6 hours to implement and can be undertaken either on the client’s premises, an Appleton Greene serviced office, or online via the internet. This enables clients to implement each part of their business process, before moving onto the next stage of the program and enables employees to plan their study time around their current work commitments. The result is far greater program benefit, over a more sustainable period of time and a significantly improved return on investment.
Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. All (CLP) programs are implemented over a sustainable period of time, usually between 1-4 years, incorporating 12-48 monthly workshops and professional support is consistently provided during this time by qualified learning providers and where appropriate, by Accredited Consultants.
Collaborative Evaluation systematically invites and engages stakeholders in program evaluation planning and implementation. Unlike “distanced” evaluation approaches, which reject stakeholder participation as evaluation team members, Collaborative Evaluation assumes that active, on-going engagement between evaluators and program staff, result in stronger evaluation designs, enhanced data collection and analysis, and results that stakeholders understand and use. Collaborative Evaluation distinguishes itself in that it uses a sliding scale for levels of collaboration. This means that different program evaluations will experience different levels of collaborative activity. The sliding scale is applied as the evaluator considers each program’s evaluation needs, readiness, and resources. While Collaborative Evaluation is a term widely used in evaluation, its meaning varies considerably. Often used interchangeably with participatory and/or empowerment evaluation, the terms can be used to mean different things, which can be confusing. The processes use a comparative Collaborative Evaluation Framework to highlight how from a theoretical perspective, Collaborative Evaluation distinguishes itself from the other participatory evaluation approaches.
Collaborative processes are being promoted as an alternative decision-making process for managing. This is a relatively recent phenomenon, and, given its growing popularity, it is important to develop and apply methods and criteria for evaluation, to determine strengths and weaknesses, and to identify best practices for effective use of the collaborative model. Evaluation based on multiple criteria and at several points in time can assist those involved in designing and organizing collaborative processes to ensure the process is responsive to stakeholders’ and achieves its objectives. The success of both the process and the outcome of collaborative processes can be effectively appraised using participant surveys.
Evidence from case studies of collaborative approaches show these processes can generate higher quality, and more creative and durable agreements that are more successfully implemented due to increased public buy-in and reduced conflict. Collaboration can generate social capital, by facilitating improved relationships between stakeholders, generating new stakeholder networks, enhancing communication skills, and co-producing new knowledge with stakeholders. However, collaborative processes are a relatively recent phenomenon, particularly when compared with historical planning and decision-making processes.
“Is our program working?” This is a key question in education today, particularly in this era of heightened accountability. A collaborative program evaluation model is an extremely useful way to answer this question when education organizations want to find out if their initiatives are achieving the intended outcomes, as well as why this is the case. In the collaborative program evaluation model, the client (e.g., districts, states, public and independent schools, non-profits, and foundations) works with the external evaluator to determine the questions that will be explored through the evaluation. They continue to work collaboratively to ensure that the context is understood, that multiple stakeholder perspectives are taken into account, and that data collection instruments are appropriate in content and tone. The model produces data that can proactively inform program implementation, provide formative information that supports program improvement, and offer summative information on the effectiveness of the program.
Collaborative evaluation is a proactive evaluation model that enables program staff to engage in continuous program improvement. Specific benefits of the model include
A customized evaluation design that reflects the nuances of the program being evaluated.
An evaluation design that is flexible and adaptable to the purposes of the evaluation and to changes in program implementation over time.
Increased reliability of results.
Greater buy-in among stakeholders with both the data collection process and the evaluation findings.
Development of program staff’s capacity to continue to monitor their progress toward program goals beyond the duration of the evaluation.
Development of a culture of inquiry among program staff.
Potential cost efficiencies.
Each of these benefits is described in detail below:
Address program nuances
All evaluators should tailor evaluation services to the needs of each client (Patton, 2002). In the collaborative evaluation model, this is accomplished by evaluators working closely with program staff to identify evaluation questions and engage in an evaluation process that is attuned to the needs of program staff and stakeholders. As a result of the close knowledge built through collaborative program evaluations, such studies also guide program staff to identify and capitalize on external and internal program networks that they can tap to help them to achieve program goals (Fitzpatrick, 2012).
In a collaborative evaluation, continuous communication at the outset between program staff and the evaluation team is essential for laying the groundwork for mutual understanding. Ongoing communication is also a key ingredient for ensuring that the evaluation plan continues to be relevant to the program. By communicating regularly about program developments and context, evaluators can make adjustments in the evaluation plan to accommodate changes in the program.
Increased reliability of results
Another benefit of working collaboratively with program staff in developing the evaluation is increased reliability of the study. Because the evaluation team develops a high level of understanding of the program, data collection can be designed to accurately capture aspects of interest, and appropriate inferences and conclusions can be drawn from the data that are collected.
Greater buy-in for results
Engaging an experienced outside evaluator alone increases the reliability of the study and the credibility of the findings. The use of a collaborative program evaluation also improves buy-in for the study’s results from a variety of stakeholders. Staff members who actively participate in the evaluation better understand how the results can be used to facilitate program improvement, while administrators and other decision makers are more likely to have confidence in the results if they are aware that program staff helped inform elements of the evaluation study (Brandon, 1998).
Increased ability to monitor progress
The evaluation team works with program staff to develop tools to measure desired outcomes of the program. Because tools are designed in collaboration with program staff, staff are better able to understand the purpose of the tools and what information can be gleaned from each. This makes it more likely that staff will feel comfortable with and use the instruments to collect data in the future to monitor ongoing progress, an added benefit to the client.
Development of a culture of inquiry
Because use of evaluation results is a primary goal of collaborative evaluation, the evaluation team may also facilitate a process in which practitioners examine data on program implementation and effectiveness throughout early stages of the evaluation. This process of reviewing evaluation results can foster the development of a culture of inquiry among program staff and support the goal of continuous improvement.
Potential cost efficiencies
There are several ways that a collaborative program evaluation can reduce costs in the short term and over time. There can be immediate cost savings because evaluation resources are tightly coupled with the program’s stage of development. The model can help avoid costly data collection strategies and analytic approaches when there is little to measure because the project is in a nascent stage of implementation. Cost savings may also emerge over time because of program improvements based on formative feedback. Additional savings may be found as the evaluation team develops the internal capacity of program staff through their active participation in the design and execution of the evaluation. With increased capacity, the program staff can then continue the progress monitoring process by themselves.
The collaborative evaluation process incorporates four phases: planning; implementation; completion; and dissemination and reporting. These complement the phases of program development and implementation. Each phase has unique issues, methods, and procedures.
Collaborative Evaluation – History
Most companies or organizations want to attain sustainable, successful goals for themselves, their employees and communities of interest. But more often than not, they have difficulties achieving them. It’s the “getting there” that’s hard. This corporate training program features a process-driven system that can help. If one is committed to and serious about reaching their goals, there is almost an inevitability about succeeding. It is based on efficiency, collaboration, quality, rigor and contemporary technology. What is more, it emphasizes excellence.
In describing the process, I will also note aspects of my own background that will, hopefully, provide some context to the explanation of this system. My professional career over the past three decades featured teaching, training, mentoring and consulting, with an emphasis on evaluation and assessment in the area of accreditation in