Process B. Describe Program Design

Every environmental education program is designed based on a theory of creating change, whether explicitly stated or not. Understanding a program’s design is key to developing meaningful, realistic evaluations. When you work alongside staff, partners, and participants to describe the program design, you are better able to unearth assumptions and ensure your evaluation meets the various interests of staff, partners, participants, and funders. A collaborative and fluid approach to describing program models centers eeVAL values of authentic engagement and evaluation as an ongoing journey.

eeVAL Tips to Describe Program Design

B1. Identify Ways to Explain the Program Design

Several models exist for building consensus and communicating program design for evaluation. You might use a Theory of Change, Logic Model, and/or Results Chain to expose assumptions and clarify outcomes. The resources listed below offer a starting point to explain relationships among programmatic resources, activities and impacts. Select and apply the model that best suits the program’s intent and context, as well as the interests of partners, participants, and community members.

B2. Engage Community Partners

Engage staff, community partners, and participants in creating and reviewing your program design to create a shared understanding of how the program strategies meet the interests of different audiences or may lead to intended and unintended outcomes. This grounds the design and intended outcomes in the community context, cultures, and values. Doing so contributes to program outcomes that are relevant, meaningful, and equitable.

B3. Be Thoughtful About Stated Program Outcomes

Environmental education outcomes can be as varied as the programs and communities they engage. The best program outcomes align with your program activities, available resources, and the interests of your staff, partners, participants, and funders. Write desired outcomes in clear terms, and consider short, medium, and long-term outcomes.

B4. Anticipate Fluid Program Models

Flexible program models are to be expected and should evolve over time as evaluation efforts unfold. An iterative approach demonstrates the eeVAL values of authentic engagement and evaluation as an ongoing journey

Key Resources


Children observe bugs

Explore the Values

We encourage you to investigate how each value is incorporated into the evaluation process.


Bamboo forest

Explore the Evaluation Process

Investigate how the core values can be applied to create more just evaluation processes.