We all know the session evaluation form to be completed at the end of the training session or the two-day conference on leadership. Those forms may tell the organizers and sponsors about the food, location, pacing, and other features of the event – but they can’t tell whether the objectives of changing people, inspiring people, or teaching people were achieved.
Months afterwards, as long as six or eight months after the event, is a better time to ask what participants really learned and how much value they obtained. For many, it will be a test to even remember what took place; for others, they will have tried out the ideas of the event against reality and judged whether any beneficial learning took place or whether the social networking paid off (See my post of Sept. 22, 2005 about the ten best law department retreats I have enjoyed; and March 25, 2005 about my Rule of Three for retreat topics.).