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Capturing Outcomes of Library Programs
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Instructor: Amy Koester
If your library offers programming then you know it is important to evaluate it. In the past, traditional output measurements such as attendance and participation have been the primary means of evaluation, but what strategies can you use to determine whether and how you’re meeting important program goals? By capturing outcomes programming staff get the chance to see and document changes in patrons’ attitudes, behaviors, and skills inspired by their programming.
In this course programming staff will learn to:
- Recognize the value of program outcomes as they relate to capturing and sharing progress toward program goals.
- Develop outcomes measurement tools to fit specific programs.
- Analyze program outcomes data effectively.
- Utilize outcomes findings effectively to advocate for libraries and the transformative programs they offer.
This course will explore a range of strategies for capturing program outcomes for all ages of library patrons. Learners will leave the course with a framework for articulating program goals, capturing outcomes aligned with those goals, and using outcomes to advocate for programming in the library.
Course Description: During this four-week online course, learners will become familiar with outcomes measurement strategies and tools related to library programs for all ages. Participants will learn to create outcome statements and identify outcome indicators for specific programs, collect data related to outcomes goals, and analyze outcomes data in order to evaluate and advocate for excellent library programs. Learners will interact with the instructor and one another through weekly discussion forums, sharing real-library programs and making first iterations of outcomes measurement tools to use in the library. Learners will leave the course with knowledge about the practice and value of capturing program outcomes as well as experience applying outcomes measurement to their own library programs.
Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
- Week 1: What are program outcomes, and what is their role in library programming?
- Types of program data: inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impacts
- What are program outcomes?
- Outcomes for existing programs
- Outcomes for new and developing programs
- Outcomes for assessing programs
- Week 2: Outcomes statements and measurement tools
- What is an outcome statement?
- What you need in order to craft an outcome statement
- Identifying and stating your program goals
- Writing an outcome statement
- Identifying outcome indicators
- Week 3: Collecting and analyzing program outcomes data
- Choosing your optimal measurement tool
- Designing your measurement tool
- Fielding dates and observation periods
- Collecting program outcomes data
- Week 4: Putting outcomes data to use
- Tools for analyzing your data
- Communicating your outcomes findings
- Using outcomes findings in program evaluation
- Using outcomes findings in library advocacy
- Creating advocacy statements and infographics
Pre-course Assignment: Read the article “Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes – Oh My!” by Karen Pundsack
Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2 1/2 hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments, discussions, or online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: All library staff interested in measuring the success of programs in the library.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
Learner Requirements: It is helpful, although not necessary, to have some previous knowledge of program evaluation strategies. For a good introduction to outcome-based measurements please read the article “Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes – Oh My!” by Karen Pundsack.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
Keywords: outcomes, outcome measurements