Evaluation blogs, tweets, podcasts, social media – and some new webinars to check out!

Is anyone else amazed at how the evaluation landscape has changed this year?

There are always some changes in *what* pops up content-wise, but the thing that strikes me this year is *how* we are able to access the content.

Blogs, tweets, podcasts, and social networking

There is a pretty good line-up of evaluation blogs running now, most of which are accessible through EvalCentral, which also captures any twitter feed with an #eval or #evaluation hashtag.

Not so long ago the main option for hearing regularly (in between conferences) from your favorite evaluators was to tune into huge listservs or discussion groups and hope to spot their nuggets of wisdom in amongst the deluge of notes from other subscribers (including the “please send me a copy too” and “out of office” messages).

These days you can be a lot more selective about who you tune into, and many evaluation speakers and writers offer a range of channels for you to select from, including blogs (like this), twitter, Facebook, podcasts, and LinkedIn (including the LinkedIn groups).

The American Evaluation Association offers week-long asynchronous discussions led by a well known evaluator, about once a month. These are free to AEA members, and the discussions are brilliant, not least because several other well known evaluators tend to join the discussion, and the conversations get really interesting!

And, more recently we’ve seen several evaluation podcast series emerge, including the Vibrant Communities Podcast Series and the Adventures in Evaluation podcast, as well as our own Genuine Evaluation podcasts.

All these things are starting to break geographical barriers.

But there are a couple of other things starting to break financial barriers too.

Self-publishing

One is dramatic changes in how cheap and easy self-publishing has become, especially e-books, which can be made available instantly worldwide and at a fraction of the cost of hard copies (especially if shipping is a major factor) – see an earlier post on this topic with a link to my own e-minibook (soon to come out in Spanish too!).

Webinars

Another area we have seen some big movement in has been webinars (live seminars on the web, which you can tune into via your PC, tablet, or smartphone from anywhere in the world).

The American Evaluation Association has long had a coffee break webinar series going – free to members – where you can tune in and learn about all sorts of things from experienced evaluators.

Claremont Graduate University also runs several for free, and archives are available to watch later.

The MyMandE site also has a list of webinars on various monitoring and evaluation-related topics.

Webinars are a wonderful cost-effective alternative for people who can’t travel to a face-to-face workshop or who can’t afford a whole-day one and want smaller snippets they can digest and use.

Some are sponsored by organizations that are able to offer them for free. Others are offered for a fee, but are still a lot cheaper than a full workshop or online course.

It’s a bit like being able to download your favorite songs without buying the whole album!

Real Evaluation Webinars – try one for free next week!

If you haven’t tried a webinar before, here’s a free invitation to one next week from me – and you even get to vote on the topic! :)

I’ve got three possible topics that will be close to Genuine Evaluation readers’ hearts!

  • Developing high-level questions to guide your whole evaluation (so it doesn’t get lost in the details)
  • The six key elements of actionable evaluation – what they are, why they matter, and what goes wrong if they are missing or weak
  • Capturing the intangibles with evaluation rubrics – a quick intro/demo for beginners

This FREE 45-minute webinar is scheduled for Thursday 6th Dec / Friday 7th Dec (depending where you are in the world – follow the link to check the date/time where you are and vote on which topic should run).

And there’ll be more coming in 2013, perhaps even a joint one from Patricia and myself on some more Genuine Evaluation topics!

Data Visualization Webinars – starting in mid Dec!

There’s been a lot of interest generated recently by the new Data Visualization TIG at AEA, which has hosted a series of webinars on how to revamp your presentations and reports; these are archived on AEA’s p2i (Potent Presentations Initiative) website. The new Ignite format for AEA presentations has been a wonderful development (see the recent write-up about these on the AEA365 blog).

For those who are still looking for ideas to overhaul their presentations and reporting, data visualization guru Stephanie Evergreen has just started offering a series of webinars on the topic, including:

  • Reporting To Be Remembered (Dec 14th)
  • Smart Data Visualization (Jan 18th)
  • Smart Data, Small Group (Feb 15th)

We’re fans of Stephanie’s work, so like to give her a plug!

Patricia is delighted that Stephanie has agreed to be steward for a new section of the BetterEvaluation website that will focus on data visualization (we’ll let you know when this is available) – and Stephanie also provided advice on some improvements to the overall site.  (http://betterevaluation.org)

And I had Stephanie help me revamp my Real Evaluation website design (check it out!) and also design a set of slides for the keynote I did in Brazil earlier this year.

4 comments to Evaluation blogs, tweets, podcasts, social media – and some new webinars to check out!

  • benita williams

    Just this week I was wondering where I can find some interesting evaluation podcasts to engage with during my ‘learning on the move’ slots. Thanks for this post, its very helpful!

  • Thanks for the shout-out Jane!

    Just reading your list makes me feel exhausted. With all this blogging and other social media activity, I often wonder when we evaluators actually get the time to do evaluations! :-)

    Kylie

  • There has been a pretty noticeable change lately in online participation. I was pretty amazed by the widespread use of Twitter at the American Evaluation Association conference this year.

    My view is that there should be as many bloggers as conference presenters. I know that sounds overwhelming but so are conferences. If anyone has an evaluation blog they would like added to eval central, just let me know (@clysy).

    Genuine Evaluation was one of the first evaluation blogs, you really helped get things started. Thanks for the Eval Central shout out :)

  • Susan Kistler

    Thanks for the post Jane.

    The American Evaluation Association keeps a fairly comprehensive list of evaluation blogs and evaluators on Twitter at http://ow.ly/fKa3j

    Anyone with an #eval blog who isn’t listed, please send a note to susan@eval.org and we’ll get you added.