News & blog

Learning from self-evaluation – our learning

As we recommend, ESS follows the evaluation pathway. After setting our outcomes, indicators and methods, we collect our evidence and review our process throughout the year. In April, we held a team-wide session where we brought together all our evidence to discuss our impact and celebrate our work! To kick-off our summer 2023 theme, we have been sharing what we learned from our own self-evaluation. Here’s a round-up: 


Click to enlarge

We learned how people feel about evaluation before and after attending training with us. These screenshots were taken at the start and the end of an online Introduction to Evaluation session.

Knowing how people feel before an activity can tell us about their comfort levels and knowledge and could provide us with some information on how the activity could be delivered.  
Knowing how people feel after an activity can tell us whether we have improved their feelings, and whether we have achieved our outcomes! 


We learned that collecting long-term evidence is challenging and without it, it’s difficult to determine whether improved evaluation practice is sustained. We request follow-up feedback from all our training participants, unfortunately with a low response rate. We plan to explore more creative ways to get evidence of our sustained impact. 


We learned that Thrive Training did significantly increase participants’ knowledge in Planning, Doing and Reviewing the use of sport and physical activity to achieve positive outcomes.  

Thrive Learning Programme is designed to support organisations who use sport and physical activity to help people lead happier and healthier lives. Learn more about accessing Thrive and how it could help your project or organisation here

Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge

We received feedback which taught us that Let’s Evaluate! was useful and that we are meeting our outcome: third sector organisations are better able to build evaluation into their work, and use evaluation evidence! 

Let’s Evaluate! is our 3-part programme designed to help you demonstrate the difference you are making. If you would like to learn more about Let’s Evaluate! click here


We learned… You can’t please everyone! There was some polarity in our feedback forms. “Break out rooms were too long/too short”, “too much presentation/too much group work”, “re-caps were too long/too short”!  

While we appreciate feedback, there are times where we found out that it’s difficult/impossible to get every activity right for everyone. We aim to ensure that our training includes a range of activities with something being suitable for everyone. 


We learned that bringing third sector organisation practitioners and Scottish Government grant managers together can help broker learning relationships between funded and funders

One of ESS’s roles is to mediate learning relationships between funded and funders. Find out more about the Principles for Positive Partnerships here

Click to enlarge

Keep an eye on our social media to see other messages about Learning from Self-Evaluation!