Learning and Improvement
Overview of Resource
This training package has been developed in response to the lack of available resources to assist peer organisations in building their evaluation capacity. As we move further into the NDIS world, user-led peer programs are at risk of being unable to adequately prepare for the organisational demands ahead. A shift to outcomes based evaluations required by ILC, as well as an increasingly complex competitive environment, means developing the capacity of our peer organisations is a key focus of the NDIA.
Content Delivery and Feedback
This package has been developed as an online, self-focussed learning resource due to limitations in the current project scope. The developers have requested the addition of face to face learning sessions, and ongoing access to consultancy support for the peer organisations who utilise this resource. We anticipate that the offerings in this area will grow and develop over time once the ILC redesign currently underway enables more clarity around the needs in this space. If you require assistance with any aspect of this Training Package, you can send your query via our Feedback page and this will be shared with the author and/or development team for response.
Want to work offline?
In addition, under the introduction to each part of the package, the individual section is available for download as a single PDF.
Your feedback is greatly valued and will be fed back to the developers and the project team. This feedback can relate to technical issues, queries about the content, what you liked and what you didn’t; anything you would like to share so that we can work to improve this resource over time and support your efforts to utilise this package within your own peer organisation. Feedback can be provided via this page.
This resource assumes the reader already has a clear understanding of background peer support content. If you do not feel adequately prepared, we suggest you explore these ‘fundamental modules’ in topics available within the Quickguides on this site, such as:
- What is peer support?
- Alternative models of peer support
- Various issues relating to establishing and developing peer support groups
In this training package, the following sections are provided:
- What is 'Gathering Evidence' all about?: We explore the need to know more about how we are travelling within the peer program journey. Our focus is on the need for an ongoing process of gathering information to learn about, and improve, our peer program offerings.
- Why collect evidence?: The concept of peer organisational capacity building is explored along with the specific benefits possible from focussed information collection within your group(s). We want peer programs to grow and develop, giving greater opportunities to people living with disability nationally via peer membership and/or peer program roles. Peer programs encourage and enable a greater user-led involvement than most other program models.
- The BIG picture story behind collecting evidence: Here we explore the foundation and fundamental elements of peer support, and encourage you to determine the purpose of your peer programs. This leads us into exploring a way to structure our information collection process, and the Balanced Scorecard model is introduced.
- Who, what, why & when of gathering evidence: Building on the prior section here we shift further into understanding what it is we want to gain evidence about, and why this is so needed in peer organisations. We explore mission and strategy, and how these must be used linked to our evidence collection to ensure we understand where we are, and how far we are away from our (self-identified) measures of success.
- Tools & collection specifics: We now know what it is we want to measure, we now design the ways in which we can use various types of tools, various methods of using tools, and the ways of involving people in this. Our focus is on simple, easy methods and tools to ensure our plan which is feasible within the tightly constrained peer space, including providing an assortment of free and adaptable tools for use within your peer organisation.
- Beyond the tools: Once we have collected the evidence, we need to use it. This next step explores how we collate and analyse the different tools’ evidence. We focus on simple ways of producing powerful evidence of your success for use by your peer organisation.
- Using your evidence internally and externally: We bring our package full circle and, in our final section, return to the purpose of peer programs and explore the importance of learning loops and sharing evidence with your stakeholders inside and outside your organisation.
Self Study Questions
Throughout this training package, you are provided with opportunities to cement your learning by completing a range of self study questions. Each question has two identifying numbers; the first (x below) is the number of the section you are in (1 to 7), while the second number (y below) is the number of question from within that section. This enables each question to be easily identifiable.
SELF STUDY Q x.y
This is a practice question which illustrates what these self study questions look like in the resource. Do you plan to use these to cement your learnings in this resource?
While you can of course record your answers to each question in any method that is easy for you (on a notepad, via a voice recorder, etc) you are also able to enter your answers directly into a file developed for this purpose. This is an EXCEL spreadsheet with most questions providing three columns and structured as follows:
You can type your responses into the column shown in blue above. Note that we have included examples to each question in here also to help you work through these answers with confidence. This spreadsheet is a bit cleverer than your usual one though. To keep you motivated to work through this content, we have set this file up to be linked with a WORD document. When you complete your answers in the spreadsheet, you can then follow a series of steps below and this will enable you to produce your own draft EVALUATION PLAN. To look at what this is going to look like once it is linked to your answers, check out this EXAMPLE file (available for download in PDF and WORD formats).
When you complete this file with your self study answers as directed, you are also able to develop your peer organisation’s draft evaluation plan. This is possible if you follow the steps below.
Self Study Sheet Download Instructions
- Download both of these files and save into the same folder (they must be in the same folder as the files are linked)
- Once you have saved both files into the same folder, you can begin by opening the first file - Self Study Questions Input Sheet.xlxs
- Keep this file open while you progress through the online material. When you come across a self study question you can enter it into the spreadsheet.
- When finished answering the self study questions, open the Evaluation Plan.docx file
- Word will ask you if you want to update data from the linked files. Select Yes.
Your Evaluation Plan.docx file should now be populated with answers from the Excel spreadsheet. If you wish to change the text of any value, simply double click the table cell in Word and it will open the Excel file for you. Save your changes in Excel and then go back to your Word document. If the changes haven't automatically updated, right click the cell in Word and select "Update Link".
When you complete this file with your self study answers as directed, you have also developed your peer organisation’s draft evaluation plan. This can be used within your organisation to gain support for your information gathering plans, and may even be helpful for ILC grant submission opportunities ahead.
This resource has been developed by Project Lead Dr Jennifer Job with the assistance of a broad team of passionate individuals who want to see more peer organisation resources particularly in the domain of ‘evaluation’ or, more simply, gathering of evidence. Dr Job founded the Families4Families peer support network for people living with acquired brain injury across South Australia in 2012 and was CEO until late 2017, she was a fulltime Carer for more than 10 years and is a Developmental Educator now working in her own business (providing specialised services to people living with acquired disability: see https://lifeupcycled.com.au/). All content has been greatly enhanced by the contributions of Jala Burton, who has long been an advocate for peer support and was involved in Julia Farr Youth peer support and mentoring for many years. In addition to now serving on the JFA Purple Orange Board (https://www.purpleorange.org.au/who-we-are/our-board), Jala has lived experience of disability and provided excellent insight to ensure the resources fully reflect this lived experience. There was also a broad team who provided invaluable ongoing feedback during resource development, including experts from ANZSOG, SPRC, JFA Purple Orange and various peer organisations. A co-design process enabled varied views, ideas and contributions to be drawn together resulting in this package.
We now invite you to step into this training package, and hope that you find this learning journey useful and helpful. Most importantly, we hope this package contributes in some way to the long term success of your peer support programs as we too are passionate about the role user-led organisations can play within the new NDIS disability sector.