An organizational audit is a procedure for examining the educational practices, procedures, programs, and policies of an agency. At a minimum this should include four activities:

  1. Interview at least two people who work in the agency. One should be a top administrator of either the total agency or of a particular unit being examined. The second should be a person working to actually deliver services of some sort to clients, students, or trainees, such as a program planner, trainer, teacher, counselor, or coordinator. Additional people can be interviewed depending on time, availability, and permission of agency administrators.
  2. Observations within the agency, such as of on-going classes or programs, media centers, resource centers, and library materials.It also should include an examination of any learning and/or training resource materials.
  3. Acquiring available literature, documents, and reports that describe the policies, philosophy, and procedures of an agency or a particular unit being examined.
  4. Touring the facilities, including training centers, workshop cites, classrooms, tutorial rooms, etc.

Additional activities that would seem appropriate to help you acquire a good understanding of what the unit does in delivering continuing education or training programs, courses, or resources can be developed on site and with the support of agency administrators. For example, although it is frequently difficult, interviews with learners or trainees or past students sometimes can be quite informative. Reading evaluative reports from students and others also can be useful if available.

The purpose of this particular audit is to obtain information about existing programs or opportunities for self-directed, individualized adult learning. Your ultimate goal will be to produce a set of recommendations for the agency to consider if it has a desire to include new or additional self-directed and individualized learning practices in the future delivery of programs, courses, and resources.

Chapter seven in Brockett and Hiemstra (1991) provides some discussion on how to enhance learner self-direction that will guide your development of these recommendations. Several guidelines and strategies are depicted in that chapter. To guide your information gathering efforts, several interview questions follow. They are only suggestive, however, of the many possibilities and you should feel free to derive your own collection strategies and criteria.



What are the goals, purposes, and objectives of the agency relative to adult teaching, training, or learning?

Are they stated anywhere, can employees read them, and, if available, can I obtain a copy?

Have the purposes changed through the years and, if so, how?

Is the agency affiliated with local, state, or national associations relative to adult learning/training?

What is the nature of the clientele served with these adult learning/training programs?

Adult Learning/Training Organization and Administration

Who determines what shall be offered?

How are new programs initiated?

Where does the staff look for program/training ideas?

Is there a stated program/training philosophy? Is it stated anywhere? Can employees read the information, and, if available, can I obtain a copy?

Are there self-directed, individualized learning opportunities, options, or resources available to clients or employees?

What is the organizational structure of the agency? How do training/continuing education staff fit within this structure?

Who are the supportive staff? What is the nature of their roles?

How often are staff meetings held to discuss training/continuing education issues and programs? What is the nature of these meetings?

What is the professional training of the staff involved with training/continuing education?

Are there planned in-service training programs for training/continuing education staff? What is the nature of such training?

How are training/continuing education programs promoted?

How are instructors/trainers chosen?

How are they trained?

What are the constraints to program administration?


Self-support? Partial subsidy? Complete subsidy? Other?

Are fees charged? On what basis?

Can one register for educational programs by mail?

Is there a charge for adult counseling and testing?

How much are instructors paid and how are the paid?

Is there a refund policy?


What types of evaluation are used by instructors?

What types of evaluation are made by students and how is this information used?

How are the training/continuing education programs or opportunities evaluated?

What kinds of improvements are contemplated and how are they to be implemented?

Derive additional questions to help you obtain necessary information about self-directed, individualized learning opportunities, resources, or constraints in the agency?


Brockett, R. G., & Hiemstra, R. (1991). Self-direction in learning: Perspectives on theory, research, and practice. New York: Routledge.

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