Evaluation is essential to show that your walking program is successful. It also helps you learn about your program and improve the way you deliver your services. The results of evaluation can have an important role in sharing insight with other projects and motivating staff and volunteers.
Evaluation can be seen as a process of asking questions about your program - what works, what doesn't, why it doesn't work and what happened that wasn't anticipated.
Process evaluation examines how a program was implemented or carried out. Questions to consider when conducting a process evaluation include:
- Were the activities actually carried out as planned?
- Were all the timelines met? If not, why not?
- Were the program's resources efficiently managed and expended?
- Were the promotional activities and materials effective in reaching the target audience? Which were most effective?
- Are there high levels of awareness of the walking program in the community?
Outcome or impact evaluation examines the effect that a program has on participants. Questions to consider when conducting an outcome evaluation include:
- Did the program achieve its goals?
- What difference did the program make for the community?
- Are communities taking more of an active role in improving health?
- Are communities playing a significant role in shaping solutions that affect them?
- Did the messages we developed effectively reach our target and what was the impact of those messages?
- Were the incentives effective for increasing participation and commitment?
- Which types of programs were most successful (frequency of repeat walkers, greatest numbers participating, etc.) in terms of increasing the level of physical activity in the community?
- Does impact on the participants vary across different types of walking programs? How?