Evaluation of training workshop
On Saturday, October 29, the last day of the workshop, written
evaluations of the IST were requested of the participants. A prepared evaluation
form (appendix J) was distributed to the participants soliciting responses to
the overall effectiveness of individual exercises, the training staff's
performance and the overall success of the workshop agenda in meeting the
We have provided a chart (appendix K) with the rating scale used
during the evaluation process. On that chart, below each number rating of one to
five, five being the best, a percentage is assigned designating the proportion
of the participants that rated the exercise at that level.
Of special note - in the opening session on expectations, almost
70% of the participants agreed that a good starting point in any training
exercise is for the staff to solicit input from participants on the training
syllabus. Further, it was felt that the flexibility of the training agenda and
the staff's willingness to incorporate participants' suggestions served as a
Those sessions most enthusiastically received are as follows:
· Expectations - The participants rated the
session on expectation among the highest as previously stated. Comments on the
session ranged from a "necessary component" to a few that indirectly called it a
''waste of time." The vast majority of the respondents did receive the session
well and rated it highly.
· Counterparts/WID - Overall, this session was rated highly
as to presentation, content and utility. One participant commented, "good chance
to hear about the motivations of our counterparts...to give us a better
understanding of one another." The slide presentation on Women in Development
was quite a success, well received and highly praised for its merit because of
the inclusion of women and the recognition of their indispensable role in
· Concepts of Agroforestry - Presented by Dr. Napoleon
Vergara, was rated across the board at fours and fives. Dr. Vergara's
presentation ranked among the best received by the participants; they expressed
profound pleasure at having "met" and been under the instruction of "the
expert." Participants felt that more time should have been devoted to this
· Ecology - This session was given a rating of four by 50%
of the participants. The overall reception by the group of this topic was good
although it was felt that greater depth and more specificity would have made the
session more beneficial. The participants understood the rationale for the
simplistic approach which in effect was the only approach the staff could take
given the time, group size and participant's work site variations. Seemingly, a
session on Ecology will, in future, be better suited to single country ISTs or
multi-country ISTs with identical environmental conditions (as can be seen in
some of the Sahelian countries of Africa).
· Land Use Planning - Although the session on Land Use
Planning received high evaluation marks from the trainees, comments reflected a
general feeling that this session had shortcomings and drawbacks overall. One
volunteer suggested that the session was redundant, perhaps due to the
simplistic stepwise directives given on planning and implementing land use,
something most forestry volunteers would have previously received during PST or
ICT. Nontheless, land use planning should be included in future ISTs if the need
exists, but should be better structured for a generic overview geared
principally towards agroforestry.
· Ecological, Economic and Social Aspects of Agroforestry -
This session was also lead by Dr. Vergara. Once again, he received high ratings
from the participants, especially for his manor of presenting the subject
matter, very clear and precise. One participant liked that he presented both the
advantages and disadvantages, while another stated that he "tended to gloss-over
the social impacts of Agroforestry for the sake of selling the concept on an
economic and ecological basis. The general feeling was that such a broad,
worthwhile topic should have been allotted more time.
· Nitrogen Fixing Trees I & II - Kenneth MacDicken made
two presentations on the pros and cons as well as the latest advances in the use
of nitrogen fixing trees in agroforestry schemes. On our rating scale of one to
five, the two combined presentations received an average rating of four at 42.5%
and of five at 45%. Actually, Nitrogen Fixing Trees I was rated in the five slot
by the greatest percentage of participants (48%) than any other session. Part of
the reason for this was the delivery format utilized by Mr. MacDicken. It was
apparent that he tailored his presentation appropriately to the technical level
of the target audience maximizing its effectiveness. This is important when a
technically oriented lecturer presents his/her subject to a not as educated
· Agroforestry Project Planning - This session, devoted to
the systematic development of an agroforestry plan, stimulated much discussion,
exchange and country specific input from the trainees. Factors of primary
consideration when planning any development project and issues to be researched
related to the plan were brought to light. Also discussed were the steps to be
taken in the planning process and the importance of including the people who
will benefit from the project in all the steps. It proved to be an outstanding
and stimulating discussion and clearly demonstrated the need for project
planning in general and planning Agroforestry projects, the focus of the
workshop, in particular. On the rating scale, 57% of the trainees placed this
session at a four.
Agroforestry and Fuelwood Production; Sustained Production of
Fodder and Fertilizer in Agroforestry; Seed Collection; Grafting; Pruning and
Agroforestry Projects along with those discussed above received the highest
ratings during the evaluation of the workshop. The apparent conclusion to be
drawn from the evaluative comments on the previous seven sessions is that the
participants had a real need for and interest in the specific areas covered.
Further, it is our conclusion that the methodology utilized for information and
skill transfer met the needs of the participants.
In general, the participants felt that all of the foregoing
sessions, with the exception of expectations and counterparts/WID could have
been better if more time had been allowed. Other topics on the training agenda
not covered specifically in this section were rated below average. The most
frequent comments on the below average and low ratings were: "Too hurried", "too
technical" to "not enough specifics", "more 'hands-on' training" and a few
"waste of time."
Other concerns expressed by the participants included:
· A need to allow more time on the agenda for
information sharing among participants. It was intended that the slide
presentations by the participants would stimulate and satisfy this need;
however, it is apparent from the comments that additional time was needed.
· That lecturers designated as experts should be experts in
their field with previous training experience. This comment had a dual meaning.
First, an expert should have a thorough understanding of the technology they are
to cover. Second, they should, as previously stated, be aware of the composition
of the target audience so that the delivery of information is free flowing and
easily absorbed. As these ISTs are usually short and fully planned well in
advance of delivery (although subject to change), time, which is of the essence
could easily be wasted if a topic inadequately covered has to be rehashed in an
attempt to deliver information that was poorly presented the first time around.
· That there should be a greater emphasis on extension
approaches and techniques. The single most important function of any volunteer
is to effect skill transfer (extension) in an effective and culturally accepted
manner. Therefore, participants felt that more time and consideration should be
given this subject.
· That the intensity of the training be decreased by
increasing the overall length of the workshop.
In closing, the evaluation provided the IST planners, implementing
staff and the Office of Training and Program Support an opportunity to assess
the degree to which areas of training requested had been or not been satisfied.
To this end, better and more effective training during the period of service of
the volunteer can be delivered based on their evaluation and suggestions for
improvement of future in-service training