Appendix 4: Guidelines for Evaluating Continuing Education Programs

Feedback from participants, peers, reviewers, and instructors is essential to assess the quality and relevance of individual courses and programs of continuing education courses.

Use the course evaluation forms that follow or construct your own to assist the instructor in refining/tweaking the content and presentation. Lengthy evaluation forms typically defeat the purpose as participants are eager to leave – one sheet of paper with questions on both sides appears to yield the greatest results. Include succinct questions and request answers based on a scale of one to five as well as open ended questions encouraging comprehensive responses.  Allowing participants to complete evaluations at home and/or online after the program concludes results in a significant decrease in evaluations submitted.

Ask participants about the complete education experience including:

  • Objectives
  • Learning outcomes
  • Content
  • Break-out sessions
  • Relevance of training
  • Skill of Presenter
  • Advertised description
  • Handouts and materials
  • Pre-reading assignments if appropriate
  • What was missing
  • Catering if appropriate
  • Information provided about location, transportation, parking
  • Comfort and appropriateness of facility
  • Other education needs

Evaluations allow instructors and education providers to pin point areas for improvement in course content, presentation, and materials. Both entities should study the numbers, comments, and suggestions/complaints to resolve issues. Pay particular attention to negative comments, even if there are few. Assess their legitimacy and attempt to address the concerns they raise even while keeping positive comments in mind.