Evaluation on beneficiary application of knowledge and skills:
Learning-related programming is an important part of UNITAR’s work programme, accounting for 60 per cent of beneficiaries and 67 per cent of events in 2015. Assessing the extent to which knowledge and skills acquired from training have been applied to practice, and ultimately, if they have produced positive changes in beneficiaries’ performance at their workplaces is fundamental. The Evaluation on beneficiary application of knowledge and skills – 2015 learning-related programming provides important insights on the effectiveness of UNITAR training, including factors that enable/deter the application of knowledge/skills acquired. The report is a product of the Planning, Performance and Results Section of the UNITAR and
What are the evaluation’s principal findings?
- 79 per cent of respondents confirmed application of knowledge and skills acquired through UNITAR’s learning events.
- According to the respondents, opportunity to apply knowledge/skills and the importance for job success are the most important factors influencing on application.
By contrast, the lack of opportunity to apply, lack of time and the absence of systems and processes at workplaces are the main barriers to application.
Governments sector respondents reported the highest rate of application among all sectors.
- Blended and face-to-face training events presented higher rate of application than e-Learning courses, being 93 per cent, 91 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents who conformed application indicated frequent or occasional use.
- For those who have confirmed application/use of knowledge/skills from learning events, the rate of application varies from 50 to 90 per cent of their time at work.
Timing, Interests and Behavioral Changes
Three additional considerations are considered after this analysis:
- The evaluation points out that the application is strongly linked to the duration of the learning event, i.e. the longer event lasts, more time for exercises, simulation games and application of learning.
- Most interviewees stated that the reason for participating in a learning event included personal interest, a passion for learning, a general learning culture and the job requirements.
- Moreover, respondents confirmed behavioral changes at their workplaces, including:
- Use of different skills, knowledge and terminology specific to the learning event;
- Change of attitude and behavior, mainly related to gender and environment; and
- Capacity to influence in different professional contexts.
“Conducted training course of trainers of trainers (TOT) for 20 Senior Diplomats at the Kenya School of Governments and the materials for training and methodology were 100% borrowed from UNITAR Training” (Respondent from Peace and Peacekeeping).
What recommendations stem from the evaluation?
Based on the evaluation’s findings and conclusions, the report includes five recommendations to optimize the delivery and effectiveness of the UNITAR’s learning-related programming:
- Explore the potential of blended learning in order to promote higher rates of application of knowledge and skills from face-to-face events and the broad geographical outreach from e-Learning methods;
- Encourage learners/participants to inform their supervisors of attendance at the beginning in order to provide follow-up during the course and to create conditions to apply/use the new knowledge;
- Enhance pre-event announcement information on how the development of knowledge can address individual and organizational performance challenges and needs;
- Pursue longer duration training activities instead of shorter events that have led to fewer reported cases of application of the knowledge/skills acquired; and
- Integrate practical tools into training events to facilitate application/use immediately.