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Assessment of Self-Evaluation Training for the Medical Reserve

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Development of the Regional Training Sessions

We began this study by conducting a needs assessment to determine what level of experience MRC units had with program evaluation. This was done to ensure that the training we developed for the regional meetings would be most relevant. Our findings revealed that very few units had experience with program evaluation or had even established a formal strategic plan. In addition, there was substantial variation among units in terms of their size, structure, and scope, and most units were still in the early stages of development.1

Based on our findings, we designed the training to focus on strategic planning and how to develop a program logic model. Strategic planning is the critical first step in any evaluation because it clearly describes the goal(s) and objectives of the program. The intent of the training was to educate MRC coordinators on the need for strategic planning and to provide them with a basic understanding of a logic model, how one is developed, and how to use a logic model to guide performance measurement and evaluation.

The training consisted of two components: a short introductory presentation on strategic planning and the logic model, followed by a "hands on" session so unit coordinators could practice developing a logic model. We felt that this was the best way to fully engage coordinators from advanced units and those from units that were just being started. For the interactive session, participants (most were unit coordinators, but some were program staff) were divided into groups of five to ten people and each group was given a different hypothetical situation and goal statement, as well as a list of resources (e.g., number of volunteers). Using this information, they were asked to describe the short- and long-term outcomes that they wanted to accomplish and the major activities that were required to reach those outcomes. An example of a logic model handout developed for the first regional training is provided in Appendix A.

The training sessions also consisted of a "report back" in which each group shared the results of their logic model, described their rationale for selecting the outcomes and activities they did, and identified key challenges with the process. This provided a good opportunity for the participants to observe and learn from how other groups approached the exercise.


1. Over half of the MRC units currently registered at the time were less than 2.5 years old.


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