The Importance of Program Evaluation: How Can it be Applied to Diverse Genetics Education Settings?
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- Metcalfe, S.A., Aitken, M. & Gaff, C.L. J Genet Counsel (2008) 17: 170. doi:10.1007/s10897-007-9138-8
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The role of a genetic counselor often entails providing education to patient, community and/or health professional groups. While counseling supervision assists genetic counselors to be reflective about their clinical work and to enhance clinical skills, evaluation is a rather analogous process in the provision of education. Program evaluation of education activities can be applied to provide information about the needs of the target group (needs assessment), the delivery of the program (process evaluation) as well as determining the extent to which the education activity has met its intended aims (summative evaluation). Evaluation assists the educator to assess the impact of their program and provides an evidence base about genetics education. Although program evaluation can be a complex activity, the tools are ones that can be used by individuals to evaluate single or simple education activities. The components of evaluation are discussed with reference to genetic counseling practice and three very different examples of actual evaluations are provided to illustrate the diversity of evaluation strategy and programs to which it can be applied.