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COMMUNICATE RESULTS AND EVALUATE THE RESULTS OF COMMUNICATION

A final step in the communication process is the communication of results, using the selected media and information, and evaluating the results of the communication. While it is important to evaluate results of the program itself, knowing how successful you are with the communication of those is just as important. Your program may have been flawless, resulting in well over 100 percent ROI. But if the communication was poorly done, then your success may never be known.

So, how do you evaluate the success of your communication? Just like you evaluate your learning program. You observe reaction to the information and the communication process, ask participants if they know what the data mean and understand your evaluation process, follow up on actions taken as a result of the communication, observe subsequent impact (such as funding for a new program), and, if you choose, calculate the ROI on your communication process. How you communicate, to whom you communicate, and when you communicate are critical elements to your overall evaluation strategy.

Remember, there are no perfect ROI studies—someone will find an improvement opportunity in everything you do. As long as you follow the process and the standards, keep your application of the ROI Methodology consistent, and clearly communicate your approach, your results are put into the context of methodology—credible and reliable. With that in mind, good decisions can be made about programs. The case studies in the following chapters provide examples of how the ROI Methodology has been used to evaluate technology-based learning programs in various organizations.

DELIVERING BAD NEWS

One of the obstacles perhaps most difficult to overcome is receiving inadequate, insufficient, or disappointing news. Addressing a bad-news situation is an issue for most project leaders and other stakeholders involved in a project. Table 5-3 presents the guidelines to follow when addressing bad news. As the table makes clear, the time to think about bad news is early in the process, but without ever losing sight of the value of the bad news. In essence, bad news means that things can change—and need to change—and that the situation can improve. The team and others need to be convinced that good news can be found in a bad-news situation.

Table 5-3. Delivering Bad News

• Never fail to recognize the power to learn from and improve on a negative study.

• Look for red flags along the way.

• Lower outcome expectations with key stakeholders along the way.

• Look for data everywhere.

• Never alter the standards.

• Remain objective throughout the process.

• Prepare the team for the bad news.

• Consider different scenarios.

• Find out what went wrong.

• Adjust the story line to: “Now we have data that show how to make this program more successful.” In an odd way, this puts a positive spin on data that are less than positive.

• Drive improvement.

USING THE DATA

Too often, projects are evaluated and significant data are collected, but nothing is done with the data. Failure to use data is a tremendous obstacle, because once the project has concluded, the team has a tendency to move on to the next project or issue and get on with other priorities. Table 5-4 shows how the different levels of data can be used to improve projects. It is critical that the data be used—they were essentially the justification for undertaking the project evaluation in the first place. Failure to use the data may mean that the entire evaluation was a waste. As the table illustrates, many reasons exist for collecting the data and using them after collection. These can become action items for the team to ensure that changes and adjustments are made. Also, the client or sponsor must act to ensure that the uses of data are appropriately addressed.

Table 5-4. How Data Should Be Used

Use of Evaluation Data

Appropriate Level of Data

1

2

3

4

5

Adjust program design.

+

+

Improve implementation.

+

+

Influence application and impact.

+

+

Improve management support for the program.

+

+

+

Improve stakeholder satisfaction.

+

+

+

Recognize and reward participants.

+

+

+

Justify or enhance budget.

+

+

Reduce costs.

+

+

+

+

Market program in the future.

+

+

+

+

FINAL THOUGHTS

This chapter discussed a crucial area of the ROI Methodology, reporting results. When an ROI analysis has been completed successfully, the results must be communicated to various individuals with interest in the project. Proper communication of results is imperative for successful implementation of the ROI Methodology. The final chapter in part I discusses what is necessary to achieve business results from a design perspective.



 
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