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Using logic models to Gauge the benefits of Internship Experiences.

How to evaluate the value and outcome of internship using step by step and well documented logic models.

Recent financial pressures on all education institutions is requiring them to be more accountable and demonstrate that the results achieved by their various human services programs like internships for their students.

The level of success is measured by assessing the level of positive change by the people going through that program. There are different ways to measure this success. One is using data reported by the people going through that those programs themselves. This self-reported data is good but sometimes not very reliable.

Another way to measure the effectiveness of internships and other programs is the use of Logic Models. This helps us to gauge the effectiveness of the use of resources over time. The results are linked to the goals achieved and how each element in the model contributes or detracts from achieving those goals.

A Logic Model is similar to a map that guides someone towards their goals. We can use logic models to gauge the effectiveness of college internships because it provides a framework that gives clearly defined goals that need to be achieved. These specific goals for the internship may include job offers, learning a particular subject, being liked by a teacher or a leader, and many other areas that an internship may help a student with.

Logic models are also used to help get funding for the internship programs because the sponsors are able to see the concrete results that the internships offer to students.

The basic logic model has four elements.    Initial situation - This is an unfavorable initial situation that we want to improve. e.g. need students to learn something and become more employable.
   Inputs - This is the resources, activities and people involved in the exercise or internship.
   Outputs - Changes made by the internship and they should be documented.
   Outcomes - A new and better situation has arisen. e.g. the students are now well trained to be employable.

In terms of internships for students, colleges may partner with high schools to provide graduate course materials, resources and best practices for particular courses.

Interns are then involved in many activities leading to successful completion of the internship. These include opportunities to make observations by shadowing other people while at work and watching the design and development of the subject material they are working on.

Outcomes of the internships include making final reports about what has been learned in the internship and potential employment opportunities for the internees.

This step by step formula for gauging the value of an internship is very good because of the great documentation it provides and is evidence based hence helps educational institutions make financial decisions on what programs to support and what not to support.