Program Planning

How are we connecting outcome-based program planning to outcome-based program evaluation? As we progress with outcome measurement, it seems a natural evolution to be planning programs to achieve the outcomes we are measuring for the program. In an accountability framework, we understand that we must set clear expectations & identify resources for our work before we can hold ourselves accountable to those expectations.

Sno-Isle Libraries is trying out this tool, created based on needs expressed by front-line programming staff, service planning leads, and resource managers:

Any other examples? Feedback? Questions?

This might be a little off from your question but I’ll pass along my thoughts.

For the most part, people who respond to our outcome surveys are overwhelming positive. The data is probably skewed in that the people attending programs are happy consumers to begin with. It makes great charts and promotional brochures . . . But what have we learned?

The substance, in my opinion, is in the open ended questions, to which we have added one. A question we ask is, “are there other topics or subjects you would like to learn at this Library?” Based on responses to that question, we have added a couple new classes. Also from the included question about improvement, we are learning how our patrons feel about:

    * our marketing - did it give patrons enough info and time to make a decision

    * are our programs meeting patron expectations - we can evaluate instructors 
      and presentation  format

    * are facilities and equipment sufficient - - we have made upgrades based on 
      this feedback

The above, combined with output data is starting to build a picture. Things I study in my output data are:
* How many programs offered had little or no attendance? Why?
Insufficient marketing? non relevant topic? and so on.

 * I am tracking day-of-week, time-of-day, and program topic category.  Do certain 
   programs / topics        do better on specific days or at specific times of day - so far 
   this has been inconclusive and no  clear pattern has emerged beyond what we have
   come to expect.

Note, outputs are blended with outcomes. For example, adult literacy programs are very important to individuals and the community but pull far fewer patrons than does a chautauqua or Pecha Kucha event and require far more effort on the part of library staff. A strict output mindset might suggest dropping adult literacy BUT outcomes overwhelmingly suggest adult literacy has far more impact on the community.

Here’s the documentation and worksheets we’re using at Skokie Public Library when it comes to working through the outcomes measurement potential of programs with our program creators. First step is articulating the goals of the program and why they want to capture outcomes; second step, if outcomes measurement is appropriate (i.e., will tell us something we don’t already know) then we proceed to the second step, which is forming the outcome statement and identifying indicators.
Worksheet A What are you hoping to capture.docx (22.3 KB)
Worksheet B Goals and indicators.docx (16.6 KB)