Are You Making These 3 Critical Logic Model Mistakes In Your Program Evaluation?
A logic model is a great way to create a visual representation of your program. At the core of a logic model, each visual representation, or infographic, illustrates a sequence of cause and effect relationships.
Are you making these 3 critical mistakes in your program evaluation?
It is so easy to make these mistakes. We recognize that managing a program is hard work. It takes a lot of time to make sure that services are being delivered, staffing is secured, and participants are engaged, not to mention all the other things that pop up here and there.
You are very busy, so making these mistakes is not unheard of – actually its pretty common. So here we provide you with information on some of the most common mistakes made when creating a model and how to avoid them. These simple actions will take the ambivalence you might have and replace it with confidence!
Mistake # 1: Making Your Model Too Complicated
At its core, a logic model is intended to communicate with others about your theory or basic assumption about your program. When logic models are too detailed, or complicated, the information is not easy to understand or use.
A great way to easily identify your main point is to answer this question: "Why is this a good solution for the identified problem?"
Logic models come in all shapes and sizes but at the end of the day – it must clearly show "what causes what," "in what order," and "what the desired result is."
What to do Instead:
Don't make your model too complicated. Here are some guidelines for creating a basic logic model for your program and a checklist that will help guide you.
_____ Have you identified the cause and effect connections in an intentional order?
_____ Do you effectively and efficiently convey the purpose of your program?
_____Are you showing what the desired results of your program are?
If you have each of these elements then you have a basic logic model that will successfully engage the supporters of your program. Remember, you are not developing an action plan, that is different. Action plans are more detailed and provide step by step guidelines for program implementation.
Mistake # 2: Leaving the Logic Model, "On The Shelf!"
When was the last time you touched your logic model? Do you believe that logic models, once created, do not change? This is one of the greatest misconceptions and mistakes that logic modelers and program managers make. The belief that logic models are static prevents the successful use of the model as a tool in your program.
New information becomes available every day. Obviously, an every day review would be tedious and an inefficient use of your time and effort. Reviewing your model too often also can prevent you from getting your program up and running or sustained. However, a periodic review – a minimum of once a month – will promise that on-going learning and program development are present and clearly represented for key leaders and program champions.
What to do instead:
Use your logic model to show how change unfolds during the implementation of your program. A great way to keep track of these changes is to have program leaders jot down areas of success and barriers routinely. Even if you are busy making sure that programs are running smoothly, make a commitment to review your accomplishments and successes regularly.
Don't leave it on the shelf – don't let it get dusty! It is important to keep a clear focus on the value of your logic model as an effective tool. When used regularly, it can help you anchor on your program strengths and adjust where there is opportunity for program growth and development.
Mistake # 3: The "What Did She Just Say?" Effect
We've all been there – you get up in front of an audience or your sitting with your leadership team and you get "the look." Yes – the look expressing that the audience member has no idea what you are talking about? This has happened to each of us- at least once – and can be the greatest barrier to engagement, support, and sustainability.
How do you get "the look?" Most often it is because you are experiencing the "What did she just say?" effect. In other words, you are using language that acts as a barrier to communication and understanding instead of enhancing the audiences knowledge and experience. The third biggest mistake to developing a successful logic model is using too much technical language. Keeping your language simple is key to building support for your program and confidence in your key champions.
What to do instead:
A basic logic model is like a simple road map that provides information on where to go, when, and what the desired destination will be. For example, "What I am about to show you is an infographic (or picture) about what [insert name of program here] is doing, how it's getting done, and what we hope to achieve with these efforts."
Using these simple terms, will guarantee that the majority of your audience will be on the same page and understand what you are hoping to accomplish by running your program.
I know that you have run into these challenges with your logic model and if you haven't experienced these challenges yet – pay close attention because they may present as a challenge in your future.
You don't want to make these 3 critical mistakes, do you?