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What participants said about this course:

"I'm very satisfied with the course. My basic expectation was to strengthen my research capacity, which I think I have been met. I have learned a lot from the instructor and from other participants as well."

"Exactly what I wanted! Did not expect it to be so usefull!!

"The course fully met my expectations. I can recommend participation to everybody who wishes to obtain a good overview on the topic."

"The course fully met my expectations."

"In general I found the course very easy and useful. All my expectations were met and I think I will recommend it to other people."

"The course met all of my expectations. It covered all of the promised topics in a very practical manner and the exercises allowed me to put the theory into practice."

"Generally speaking this course met my expectations not only in the quality of reading materials but also in the weekly feedback provided by the instructor and the learning forum. It was a good learning place and experience sharing among participants and the instructor."

"The course met all my expectations."

"Pretty well. Beginners level, some tasters of the subject, some pointers to more in-depth reading. In sum, just what I expected."

"The course met and exceeded my expectations in every way possible. Not only did I gain a lot of useful knowledge about research and evaluation in the NGO sector, but I also squirreled away in my brain a "model" for successful online instruction, which may be useful to me in the near or long-term future. Virtual learning seems to be a growing trend, at least in Latin America and I am thankful to have had such a good experience with HREA."

"The course met most of my expectations. What I needed was just an introduction to research and evaluation. I now feel that I can tackle these issues properly."

"Met my expectations excellently. It challenged me to think through and articulate my feelings and concerns about development work.I have a much broader understanding of 'research' and its different components. I can see that not having this knowledge left a gap in my work, and now I will be able to better explain what I do. It has confirmed that the way I work is on the right track and it is affirming to know that others share the views and beliefs that I have."

" The course was very professionally conducted and [course instructor] was always so encouraging, everything seemed to work well."

"Concerning the reading and exercises it met my expectations; initially I did not intend to include my actual project into the course but it turned out to show positive effects."

"As an introduction to research techniques, it did indeed fulfill my expectations. I had hoped to understand how to set up or instigate an investigation, and I believe I have. I need a lot more practice to work out details, but I believe the course was right-on for giving me the tools to promote this kind of structured exercise iin my work."

"The course has enabled me to acquire new skills and enhance my knowledge in research processes from design and implementation to reporting and dissemination. Topics covered by the course and the various discussions organized with participants were so enriching and relevant to my current job. By taking part in this course, I have gained new experiences in areas such as formulating key research questions in relation to research purpose, designing survey studies, providing constructive feedback to research design, the tasks I used to find quite difficult."

"It is an excellent course and it met my expectation 99.9%. I hope that in the future, HREA will be able to do an Advance Knowledge Course Program in Research and Evaluation."

"Quite well. I didn't expect the course would be this long, but the time really helps you to complete your assignments."

"The course met my expectation excellently. I was able to march my experience in research and evaluation with the theories and concept. I was able to develop a research plan which is an evidence of learning. From this course, I have improved my knowledge and skills on research and evaluation."

"The course offered a very good introduction to research and evaluation methods. I already had a course on the subject a few years ago, and this course was a valuable refreshment of what I had already studied, but somehow forgot...."

"I received more than expected from the course. What I learnt was very useful and the people that I worked with were very competent and extremely helpful."

"I would say that my biggest expectations towards this course were to update my previous knowledge on research and to add the 'applied research' aspect to it (I had so far only gained research experience as part of my university degree, but never in the NGO sector). Looking back on the course, I would say that these expectations, as well as the expectation to become a 'better consumer' of existing studies, have been met."

"As a 'puppy' to the field of R&E, I was quite pleased and very much so surprised of what I had been missing before in my work and how easy it was to find it necessary to adopt to all the new things learned. The course has added most important aspects to my work and has opened new possible focuses of work. I found it an effective platform to communicate with people from very different fields of work and different continents or more or less biographical backgrounds on the grounds of R&E."

"During this course I received answers to almost all of my questions. I wanted to strengthen my knowledge and skills in qualitative methods and these methods were explained very thoroughly."

"I really enjoyed participating in this course. It was very helpful for me and I hope to use some of new concepts that I learnt in my work too. Forum was a very good place of experience sharing and updating of my information about what I had learnt in the past. It brought this 'big world in a very small chat room' and I learnt a lot. Readings were good and assignments were clearly stated. In general, participation in this course was a good exercise for me."

"The brief insight into descriptive statistics was more than interesting, both the opportunity to review a study as important as the Kosovo-border-study of 1999 and the personal try-out are more than prominent in my memory."

"The course was very well paced and there was a degree of flexibility that helped with stressful time factors. All the topics were very relevant to the work that I do and made sense in the way they were scheduled."

"The chronology of topics was very well chosen and enabled me, as a complete newcomer, to find my place."

"The topic is well structured and presented and suitable as such. The estimated reading time was accurate and the time for doing the exercises was adequate."

"I found the topics very relevant, logically organized and coherent."

"The readings have been very useful and I know I will still want to re read them to digest the ideas."

"The readings, that nowadays already have become an important source for background-reading and research on my hands, were always diverse and interesting while I was in particular thankful for the voluntary reading / and linking with philosophy, I think in week 3 or 4."

"Most of the course readings were relevant, interesting and helpful."

"It met my needs and with the opportunity given to continuously has access to the course website, which will make me to revisit some reading and get to understand them more."

"The reading materials met my needs and the material gives so much meaning and is elaborating enough. The materials gave me clue of what l need and what l need to know. These materials are assets to me and to my work in general."

"I've filed all the readings. Now I have kind of textbook and will look into it when I will need to refresh my knowledge of specific issue covered by the course."

"I liked the way the readings gave the basics and then allowed you to explore deeper into the topic."

"I very much enjoyed all the readings and, more than anything, the comments made by both the course instructor and the other members of the course. Taking an online course was very much an experiment for me and I was not certain that the "virtual classroom" would provide the same topical richness as face-to-face interactions or whether it would provide the space necessary for each participant to share what they bring to the table. I have been pleasantly surprised with how successfully the course topics, the readings, the learning forum responses and the instructor feedback have meshed to create an interactive learning environment that draws on the expertise of all the participants. I feel confident in saying that I will walk away from the course with a lot of new insight and skills."

"I think some of the material was hard to digest … for me especially the statistics. I would suggest giving some concrete (and simple) exercises for using the statistics - the exercise given was based on our own data, but I think there could have been something more simple still. Perhaps two exercises: one very simple so we know what the steps are; and another more 'real' in which we can apply the steps learned in a more realistic case."

"It is just wonderful and those moments gave me the opportunity to think deep and analyze well. The challenges gave my work a meaning and it has changed some negative things in my work for good. I really enjoyed the discussions."

"That last exercise on coding I found really interesting and I know I am still learning a lot about this. In the past when I have had to sift through pages of interview data I have ended up making codes but never using the different categories of descriptive, interpretive and analytical. So this has been new for me!"

"The exercises were challenging and interesting; I really loved the deadlines, even though I was never ready, and I have to admit to have been a truant on some of my "really important tasks" in order to do my homework for HREA course. It was fun!"

"The written exercises were very helpful and useful."

"The written assignments, like the learning forum, providing an amazing opportunity to apply readings in a more practical and personalized manner. The assignments were clearly explained and relevant to the topic being covered. Nevertheless, I found the parameters to be open enough to allow me to adapt the material to my particular needs, which I was grateful for. My accolades for providing the perfect amount of "heads up" time, in order to allow participants to organize themselves and their groups. We are all very motivated but very busy people."

"I learned a lot from doing these assignments. I thought that they were just right for the amount of time we had and were also challenging. Even doing statistics made me really sit down and work at it. I particularly liked the way we did the main exercise - having your feedback and then each others was an excellent way to learn. I also liked the group exercise on analysis."

"The assignments were helpful to get deeper into the topics. The group work though was not easy to organize and rather frustrating. Preparing the final paper and getting feedback from the instructor and other participants was really helpful."

"It was good having those exercises. That actually improved my approach practically."

"I found reading other participants' contributions very interesting."

"The group composition was very good, diverse and competent."

"I have enjoyed the "open space"; the two small groups were very enriching: I have been "coached" immediately by one course participant after beginning of the course and I found this particular constellation a very good one - maybe a chance."

"That was the motivator! Other participant's contributions were sources of encouragement to me."

"The comments from other participants addressed the same topics from different perspectives, which also helped me get a wider idea /image of topics discussed."

"I think the weekly forum is one of the most outstanding features of this course. I immensely enjoyed the task of breaking down weekly readings into digestible bits and commenting on them as they relate to my past and present work. I think it was well-paced and, honestly, I was surprised when I saw how much I had written, once all the entries were added up… it never felt like too much, but in the end the sum of all the small assignments spurred an immense amount of critical reflection. I also loved being able to read what other course participants answered to the questions!!!"

"The weekly discussions just encouraged me to do the readings but some of the questions were not really relevant in my perspective. Anyhow it was interesting to read the other participants opinions."

"I think the contributions gave a richness to the course and I now know that it is possible to be interactive in a distant learning course! They did give you a different perspective than your own, which was helpful."

"I truly loved having the opportunity to read the contributions of other course participants. I found the number of people to be just about perfect. I "knew" almost everybody in the group (background, geographic location, area of work) but there were enough people that I was constantly surprised/ intrigued by at least one or two entries. Furthermore, the questions were constructed in a way that fomented personal reflections and cultural contributions, without straying too far from the topic at hand."

"I liked the way that the forums actually did help you to get to know other people. At the beginning I wasn't sure how to approach them - its very different from talking to people. It is a skill to write them in a way that is acceptable to all readers. I liked reading about others points of view. I found the instructions clear but when we started to do them, it made more sense."

"I think we were an interesting and varied group and it certainly opened my eyes to the amazing work that people do."

"This is my third time of participating to an online course and this is my first time of seeing a professional instructor with all the quality as I was in a real classroom. Thanks to [name of course instructor]."

"[Name of course instructor] was great, especially when you contact her personally for feedback, she took the time to understand and provide assistance."

"Once again thank you for being a great support and teacher."

"I only can thank [name of course instructor] for her dedication, great assistance and excellent course facilitation."

"[Name of course instructor] is an excellent instructor. Her words and her responses actually gave me the needed strength to carry on with the course. She is my R&E mentor and l knows that l will meet with her one on one shortly."

"With [course instructor] I never felt myself one of many (e.g. tasks). In any statement towards the exercises, in the tone of the instructor´ s messages she has communicated to be at hand, to be involved. From the feedback on my work and in particular on the constellations she has formed for my two occasions of small group work, the challenges were perfect - maybe even in forseeing/defining a counterpoint. Her feedback on the draft final project was inspiring while she was ready to help even more for the beginner."

"I thought the facilitation / instruction was very good!"

" I have nothing but good things to say about [name of course instructor]. Over the course of the entire 17 (?) weeks, she was thoughtful, considerate, and responsive to the evolving needs of individual course participants, as well as the whole group. Her feedback, at an individual and a group level, was SUBSTANTIVE and I very much appreciated that. She was extremely professional but not so impersonal as to ignore opportunities in which her real-life experiences (having recently been in the Sudan, for example) could serve as material to inform and enrich the group discussions/ reflections."

"[Course instructor] is hardworking, experienced, dedicated and competent."

"Thank you, [name of course instructor]!"

"I really liked the way [course instructor] facilitated the course. You encouraged us all the time and that was so important - you were never abrupt but always understanding."

"The feedback from [course instructor] was very helpful and delivered in an appropriate way so that I felt the work of fellow students was reflected and acknowledged as well as put into perspective to other the course outcomes. Thank you for being a great leader of the course."

"Thank you for all your encouragement throughout the course ­ I have really enjoyed the readings and assignments and would like you to know that I have really learnt a lot of things. (Actually I regret not knowing about the course earlier but better late than never!)"

"I want to say GREAT THANK YOU to all people who communicated with us during this course. [Name of course facilitator], thank you for your patience while answering my stupid questions about chat time :-). [Name of course instructor], thank you for very quick replies and willingness to help."

"I never participated in anyone [of the chat sessions] due to the time at which the chat was schedule. I think it will be better to have chats schedule for Saturdays."

"The delay was sometimes frustrating but I think its just the nature of chatting."

"Although I only participated in one chat session, I read the transcript of the other. I found both sessions to be interesting, in terms of the information covered, and provocative, in terms of providing a space for participant interaction. However, I think their most important function may be that of "binding together" participants and simulating the face-to-face interaction we are all so used to having in non-virtual courses."

"This was the only part of the course that I found disappointing. I had never done anything like that before and found it quite stilted. I couldn't participate in the 2nd because of work meetings but the first one I felt went very slowly without anything much being said."

"One of the strengths of this course is that we could access the internet from almost anywhere."

"I was expecting to find this difficult but it was really so easy. Everything worked so well!"

"It would be great if we could opt for daily digests to receive the contributions of fellow students in a summary e-mail."

"Thanks to [name of facilitator/technical support] for the great and timely support."

"If all the technical stuff was this easy for somebody as computer-phobic as me, HREA is on the right track and shouldn't change a thing! Also, I found the website very well-organized and extremely helpful."

"It is very impressive. Never had difficulties logging on into the website."

"All in all a surprisingly trouble-free experience. Congrats."

"Technically I only had problems with downloading the readings of week 8 and participating in the chat sessions, which I think had rather to do with the internet connection."

"Thank you, [name of facilitator/technical support]!"

"The online-tone of anything posted by HREA is friendly, respectful, clear and at the same time never simplifying (could have been: since there are a lot of non-native speakers within the community of course participants). I really enjoy the consistency of "good" language while I am invited myself as a participant to be aware of and look for write terms in order to communicate. This concept is really contrary to anything that is happening in international contexts in politics or arts in EU, as I can tell of, because we are constantly agreeing on the most simple factor which is diminishing our arguments."

"Everything on the technical aspect worked very well. Personally l wants to thank the hero of this section - [name of course facilitator/technical support]. He was very helpful and when l had problem with my password, without him may be l would have been logged out of the course since."

"I am in the middle of coordinating a sub regional external evaluation and a country national evaluation. I realised when discussing issues with the consultant for the external evaluation that I am better able to have a constructive input and with the other have realised that we could use a questionnaire to assist in collecting information. So I guess we are already using what we have learnt without really thinking about it because we can look at things in a different way and with more knowledge behind us. This I think gives confidence. Actually senior management asked me to review a research design the other day and again I realised that I could do this much more thoroughly than previously."

"The organization of research questions in the beginning was very useful. That helped create a framework for the different field-sessions which withstood some difficulties -- mostly organizational ones, but also the recognition that I had planned to do too much. I had to limit the activities which collected the data, and cut some activities which may in hindsight have helped me make better sense of soome of the data. Field offices not following my recommendations/ requirements for the sessions impacted some of the data-collection, especially because very few adults came to the sessions. Most of the data collected is about another sector, so comparative analysis will be effected. The biggest "don't do" was avoiding a validation of instruments three weeks before actual implementation of field research. Such a validation would have identified some difficulties: too many activities; some issues needed to be presented differently. We discovered this in the first community, but this effected the results of that community. Another lesson learned was the usefulness (necessity!) of devising analytical tools/basis before implementing research activities. They can always be adjusted, but it is much much better to have a clear idea of how data will be analyzed. I even began to make kinds of codes on papers to help identify interprretations by participants of their responses."

"The final project exercise will help me to develop research projects and I am more familiar with the jargon used in the NGO sector."

"This is second time am participating in an online program. I applied lessons learnt from the pervious which was around planning and protiziting, getting a laptop and look squarely at the modules and assignment in comparison. I feel more fullfilled and challenged by this course and most of all my looking out for connection to the internet at almost every location and time to catch up. It kept my mind busy and off work especially when I focused to get the reading done. The advantage for me was the fact that learning was done at all points in the course and new discoveries, you know. It more like helped to see in a more strucured form the revelance of all the bits of work I have done and what I need to improve on. I because of this is uncautiously getting more invovled with the M&E team in my office. My interst for reaserch grew. I now believe and see that is only pratcice that i require to make perfect. I really feel good to have taken the decison to be part of the cousre. Learning, I must say, quality learning is the bomb just like this one."

"This was my first experience of e-learning. I took the course mainly because I wanted to learn more about the topic but as an educator, also out of curiousity to see how this type of course can be participatory and active.

"For me it was a very positive experience as I found the readings relevant and interesting and the course work challenging. At the beginning I wondered how we would get to know each other and I think the use of the Forums assisted with this process. The short questions and answers helped us to concisely articulate what we wanted to say and also get to know each other. They also helped us to learn actively by applying our own experience and pass it on to others. I think that the advantages are that it was conducted at a pace which allowed for people having heavy work loads and busy lives, the technology was not difficult to pick up and use and it really did widen knowledge and understanding not just from the readings but from the feedback and interaction in the forums. I sometimes felt frustrated that I did not have sufficient time to always respond to people and be part of stimulating a discussion. In terms of professional development I think it is an excellent way of adding to existing knowledge, to prevent getting stale in the work you do. It can open doors to other ideas in a more relaxed way than a formal course. And now I know that this type of learning can be participatory and active!"

"I wanted to receive an overview of the process and methods used in research and evaluation and I am very satisfied with the form of the course, exercises, group discussions and readings. I found it also very interesting to communicate with professionals from all over the world. For me the disadvantage was mainly the time-pressure to finish in-time the required reading as well as I would welcome more of practical exercises perhaps. I am more confident now in the area of evaluation even though I understand this is just another step to more education in this field."

"First, I am intending to introduce to colleagues across the organization the e-learning course offered by HREA and encourage them to apply and participate. Second, I will be sharing course materials with M&E colleagues in countries and create discussion forum for reflecting on major topics that are in line with our work. Finally, I will be working with countries to initiate capacity building programs in M&E for staff at field level especially by adapting the course methodology to our context."

"My position is Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. So, information that I received during this course will help me to better shape the performance indicators, especially at advocacy level, and design a good working plan to conduct a small scale research at community level."

"In my organization I will apply my learning in the following ways: training of staff (the organization is organizing training for staff and I will be facilitating some of the sessions; establishing leadership among peers within the organization (operationalizing the newly developed M&E framework for the country programme); support newly planned research on health reforms (personal)."

"The acquired knowledge and skills will help me to analyze others' researches presented at conferences or in publications; to develop questionnaires for pre and post training evaluation; to monitor research."

"Since I am responsible for developing grant proposals, writing project outlines and helping project coordinators establish indicators of success, for reporting purposes, I plan to use course knowledge to inform planning discussions and mid-term project reviews. Specifically, I feel better equipped to guide the planning phase, to work with technical specialists to develop the right M&E tools, and to build formal M&E components into the organizations' work."

"I have already started to use what I have learnt. I am working with a consultant in Ghana to plan an external evaluation - I was able to improve the standard terms of reference that we use and ask him relevant (I hope) questions. I have worked on a pre workshop questionnaire with the Indonesia project coordinator to help participants focus in a planning workshop, something we haven't done before. I am currently writing a guideline for project planning with a couple of other people. I was able to develop an introduction to participation because I now have a much broader understanding of the concept. I am going to submit my research design to PSI management and if they approve, send it to one of our sponsors for funding. If this is not successful I will still implement some of it within the project. I hope to be able to introduce participatory monitoring and evaluation into PSI's core work. I will use all I have learnt to improve project monitoring and evaluation to increase union ownership of projects and gather information in order to construct better reports."

"I intend to apply the course in two - partly overlapping - ways: on one side it will help me to design baseline studies, evaluation, mid term reviews, etc for my own organization; on the other hand I will be in a better position to assist our local partner NGOS when they are requested to come up with a design for baseline study or a project evaluation. Since the studies for my organization will be planned and implemented with either local staff members or local partner NGOs, I will have even here an opportunity to pass on the knowledge and skills gained during the course. Among the concrete projects for the coming few months are a KAP survey on HIV aids, FGM and women rights, a survey on literacy in rural areas (both for my organization) and a small baseline study for a rural literacy project (in this case I will give advise to one of our local partner NGOs). In the latter we are currently in the process of developing a research outline, and will soon move on to the stage of tool design."

"The course has provided and reminded me of new initiatives in day to day discharge of my duties as Monitoring and Evaluation person. It will assist in evaluation research activities, improving work plans and assisting other staff to have a better understanding of evaluation issues."

"Research now feels much more accessible. Some of the elitism surrounding it has faded. I liked learning about the difference between quantitative and qualitative research, especially realising that I have been doing qualitative research and that it is legitimate - now I have theory and process to underpin the way we do things. This will assist me to argue our case better with our sponsor organisations. I talked about participatory research but I think I now have a much better understanding of what it actually means. I had not written a definition of project participation before (only in relation to education), now I am better able to articulate this and structure the processes that I have been trying to introduce into projects."

"I would like to undertake evaluations in my workplace. I will share the plan with the rest of the team and share ideas for future research with them."

"This training is not only going to be applied within my workplace alone. The Evaluation, Surveillance and Research team (ESR) of the National Technical Working Group (NTW&G) will also benefit from the experience and a step down training.
I know that this process will eventually make these individuals to participate in the HREA R&E NGO future classes."

"I hope to go out on my own as evaluation consultant."

"I plan to improve the project monitoring and evaluation system within my organization. At the moment we have a quarterly reporting sheet. I think the interviews and questionnaires could also be applied."

"I already started implementing a research project using what I learnt during the course. I finished one phase of the mapping I am conducting and I am going to implement the same project in two other countries. The course will help me finetune the approach used, the questions asked and the categorizing of information in order to obtain better results."

"I will endeavor to transfer the skills learnt through this course to other program staff through continuous provision of technical assistance."

"I rather planned to apply the course in my work as election observer and to use my knowledge in development related evaluations (which I still aim at in the future); Since I had no such project at hand, I further developed my film-research project, and the course provided me with a systematic approach, a better development of interview questions and added a new perspective on the project for me. I wonder how my perception of the course would have changed if I was to prepare a proposal for an evaluation project in the development sector, but I think the course offered the necessary tools to succeed."

"I find it very helpful that HREA offers online courses and gives therefore also people working in the field the opportunity to improve their skills and learn more."

"It was a wonderful learning period. I know that there will be much improvement as l continue to apply this study on day to day practical activities at my workplace and in general."

"I can't thank you both enough - it was a really worthwhile experience and has stimulated my sometimes tired and cynical mind! Giving me a new enthusiasm for my work. I shall continue to recommend your courses to as many people as possible. I am going to suggest the next one for a couple of my coordinators."

"It was well organized!"

"For me it was the first time to take an e-learning course and I recommend it to my colleagues now!"

"I would like to congratulate [name of course instructor] and the HREA team for this excellent course."

"The HREA course was my first e-learning course. I think the course was well organized."

"Once again, thank you to HREA for providing this unique opportunity."

"I will gladly recommend this course to anyone who wishes to develop self logically and thinks to make a lot of impact in the research and evaluation field. It is true that there are a lot of books on this topic but having someone to guide you is an added advantage."

"Thank you to HREA for another enjoyable time and course""

"Thank you all once again for the wonderful course!"

"I enjoyed the course and would recommend it to anyone - I will be looking at courses in the new year. Thanks HREA!"

"I enjoyed this [course] and will definitely recommend signing up for a course to any colleague!"

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