Objective: To describe how the summative evaluation of attitudes and perceptions of participants at a surgical skills workshop influences and contributes to the development of the workshop.
Materials and methods: One hundred participants from 11 workshops were invited to complete a structured scored anonymous questionnaire with 18 statements, at the end of each workshop. Space was provided for free comment next to each statement. The questionnaire covered all aspects of the workshop including the practical modules, learning materials, organisation, facilitators and the relevance of the workshop to their needs. Ninety-eight of the 100 participants returned the questionnaire and this analysis is based on their responses.
Results: All respondents considered the workshop content, structure and facilities enabled the educational objectives to be achieved. The scored responses to the structured statements helped to determine the degree of satisfaction with the workshop domains, but did not give direction for change. The informal ‘free’ comments gave insight as to how improvements could be achieved in specific domains. Numerous changes suggested by participants have been included in subsequent workshops.
Conclusion: Summative evaluation of an educational program is important to determine participant satisfaction and to determine areas needing improvement. Structured scored questionnaires are helpful in determining levels of satisfaction with the various domains of the program. Informal written comments allow insight into specific areas requiring improvement and may provide guidance as to how improvement can be achieved. Space for such comment should be encouraged in any program evaluation questionnaire.