I’ve been reading recently about the Success Case Method for training evaluation, and would recommend Robert Brinkerhoff’s book, The Success Case Method, as an intriguing read.
The Success Case Method (SCM) is a way of identifying how successful a training program or other initiative for change is. Using the SCM you identify particularly successful participants in the training program, and interview them to determine why they were successful and write these up as stories to illustrate where the program can be successful. By highlighting the experience of the most successful participants, and writing up their story in a way that others can connect with, the SCM allows people to see what success means for the training program and identify what needs to be improved for others to get the success. Sometimes you also interview people who represent failures who did not get any success out of the training program, to understand qualitatively why.
By doing a qualitative interview, you can dig into the real reasons for something. And also by focusing on what is the very best, the most successful that the training program can be, you can identify what can work. And you can do a SCM very quickly – as it says on the cover of the book “Find out quickly what’s working and what’s not”. The SCM also seems a practical way of doing “level 3” like assessments, in terms of seeing how behavior is impacted. And because it’s easy to do and need not be comprehensive to be useful, it is quick and inexpensive.
The five steps in the method are
- Plan a Success Case study
- Create an “impact model” which defines what success should look like, i.e. what improvements you are looking for
- Design and implement a survey to participants to search for best and worst cases
- Interview and document the success stories
- Communicate findings and recommendations
The Brinkerhoff Success Case Method looks a very interesting and cost-effective way of identifying success factors for a training initiative.
I’ll follow up this post with some ways to use Questionmark Perception to do a Success Case Study.
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