Announcing the Coaches across Continents WISER way to ‘monitor and evaluate’.

August 4th, 2010:  Beyond Training: from ‘smart’ objectives to WISER outcomes. A necessary paradigm shift to achieve success in developing countries.

In a known and predictable world rational solutions can be planned, for training as for anything else. A training programme based on the concept of the transferability of skills can be organised and implemented so that coaches acquire the skills they are thought to need in order to achieve pre-determined, often narrow, ‘smart’ objectives.  (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). However, such a training approach takes little account of idiosyncratic local needs, perspectives and opportunities and can’t cope with a world of uncertainty or a high degree of complexity. It is ‘a one size fits all’ approach, which, paradoxically, may be a misfit everywhere.

Coaches across Continents works in complex, challenging and constantly changing environments which demand a significant degree of knowledge, analysis, judgment and flexibility in order to meet the context specific requirements of every unique situation. Accordingly Coaches across Continents goes beyond training and ‘educates’ coaches to make appropriate choices in their use of the Coaches across Continent’s curriculum in their work in significantly varying situations. Using a cascade model of development in order to optimize programme sustainability, these coaches then educate locally based coaches to similarly utilise this unique and effective curriculum.

Wisdom is the power of judging rightly. Without wisdom success is impossible in situations which are complex and ever changing.  Therefore the evaluation model of Coaches across Continents has of necessity evolved beyond the simplistic and potentially ineffective concept of ‘smart’ objectives to evaluation based on WISER outcomes.

Coaches, both international and local, are required to evaluate their programmes based on the following WISER criteria:

W

Was the programme ‘workable’? How did it take account of and respond to the specific reality and needs of the unique context?

a)      What was unique about the context?

b)      What particular needs were identified?

c)      What were chosen as local priorities and why?

d)     How were these priorities met?

I

Was the curriculum utilized ‘intelligently’, with thought being given to the relevance of a wide range of ideas and factors?

a)      What alternative ideas and approaches were considered?

b)      How were activities selected appropriately to match identified local needs?

c)      How was the curriculum responsive to ongoing learning and emerging issues?

S

Was the programme and curriculum ‘situated’ within the network of local relationships within the community?

a)      How did the curriculum align with local partners and build on existing programmes?

b)      How did the programme build relationships and gain credibility within the community?

c)      How did the programme add value to the community?

E

Were the coaches willing to ‘experiment’ appropriately, to try out new ways and formulate new aims, in response to newly clarified or identified local needs.

a)      What local needs were newly identified or clarified?

b)      What new or variant activities, games or approaches were introduced to meet these needs?

c)      What new aims emerged as a result of these experiments?

R

What ‘results’ were achieved, both quantitative and qualitative?

a)      What criteria was used to measure or judge success?

b)      How many people attended the programme? Did the attendance increase or drop off throughout the programme?

c)      What was the evidence of community interest in the programme?

d)     What was the evidence of learning by participants and within the community as a result of the programme?

e)      What was the evidence of sustainability of the programme?

By seeing the limitation of the ‘smart’ objectives’ way of understanding things, Coaches across Continents is moving beyond simplistic training methods and superficial numerical evaluation. In grasping the nettle of ‘WISER’ outcomes, Coaches across Continents is at the forefront of evaluation that honours complexity, speaks to the uniqueness of local contexts, builds on emerging strengths, enhances sustainability and empowers coaches to move from chance to informed choices in their work within communities.

“We have been working on a ‘monitoring and evaluation’ method for over two years that works best with sport for social development and specifically with the flexible nature of our Hat-Trick Initiatives.  We’d like to thank all our coaches in the field, our partner programs, iFc 1966 and the members of our Boards who have worked on this project. The WISER model continues our work as a leader in sport for social development ”  Nick Gates, Global Strategist

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