How to share and disseminate the learning from your project and evaluation.
On 14th May the Wellcome Trust held one of their twice-yearly Engaging Science days. They’re an opportunity for grantholders to meet with each other and Wellcome staff, to share learning and ideas. And to sample Wellcome’s renowned lunch offerings (side salad complete with edible flowers and quail eggs, anyone?).
Gallomanor were invited to speak on the panel of the session convened by Ben Johnson of Graphic Science, with the blurb “Once you have completed your project how do you widen its impact by ensuring others learn from what did (and didn’t) go right? An effective evaluation can also help with securing further funding and a wider roll-out of your project.” Other panelists were Manisha Lalloo from the Royal Academy of Engineering giving a funder’s perspective, and Becky Parker & Dave Colhurst from Simon Langton Grammar School.
Evaluating the learning from our projects and disseminating it (both within the office to colleagues and to the wider SciComm community) is important to us, so this is a summary of what I spoke about in the 5-10 min slot:
- Be brave in budgeting. If you think an external evaluator will help, budget for it. Plan honestly for the amount of staff time your evaluation process will take.
- Write up and talk about your findings, however small they seem. We all have to report back to funders, but making these reports readable will encourage others to read them. Start with a concise executive summary, use visual cues to break up text. Beyond this, share what you’ve learnt with colleagues and peers. We have an evaluation site where we post snippets of learning. Think about who you’re writing these for and target them – funders, participants (scientists, teachers, general public), or practitioners?
- Plan viable dissemination routes. Be innovative with evaluation and people will notice and ask you to speak and share learning at conferences. We’ve found this a brilliant way of publicising our projects, and it’s bought in new funding from people in the audience, such as the online discussion zone for the Ri Life Fantastic CHRISTMAS LECTURES.
And my top tip for dissemination when Ben sprung the question on us? Be short and visual in reports.