Your role as an instructor is to provide assessment and evaluation to further the progress of the learner, and therefore needs to be handled with careful thought and process.
The opportunity to re-look at our volunteer program and determine where appropriate evaluations and assessments need to take place is a good place to start. I whole-heartedly agree that evaluating adults is something that should not be taken lightly as it is important to the learner, and in our case, the organization too.
Although the evaluation may not be a written exam, providing volunteers with assessments that they can receive feedback on and helps predict their success seems invaluable. These assessments could be done directly after a short training, and for the longer term volunteers occur during their probationary period, and then again following certain learning milestones. This also gives a chance for them to provide feedback on if they are receiving adequate training from their point of view.
I have often thought about the importance of evaluating the program overall, and asked for feedback from the learners on what they enjoyed, what they would like to learn more about, but not necessarily to assess where they are at after participating in a training. The knowledge that they are adults and that they come from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds has held me back from thinking they require evaluation. However, the more I reflect on the purpose of evaluation, and how the “Continuous assessment and feedback is an imperative component of the learning process” (Humber College, n.d.), it seems vitally important to consider how to incorporate it. We need to support the learners with affirming where their strengths are and providing constructive and selective feedback for some of the areas to work on.
If we do evaluate volunteers in an honest, supportive, timely and constructive manner, we will see greater success in our recruits and demonstrate to them how much we value you them.
Brookfield, S. (2015). The Skillful Teacher (Third ed.). San Francisco, California, USA:
Cross, T. A. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College
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Humber College. (n.d.). Teaching Methods. Retrieved 03 11, 2016, from The Centre
for Teaching and Learning: http://www.humber.ca/centreforteachingandlearning/
Parsons, T. J. (2009). The Art of Evaluation: A resource for Educators and Trainers
(Second Edition ed.). Toronto, Ont, Canada: Thompson Educational Publishing Inc.