Technical Assistance and Learning

The country’s health, education, and other public initiatives require rigorous evaluation designs to ensure that their development and implementation phases remain aligned with program and service goals. Effective evaluation plans must be grounded in evidence-based research and practice—while being flexible enough to respond to shifting priorities and emerging practices in the field. Synergy’s doctorate-and masters-level researchers and evaluators develop the most appropriate evaluation designs using state-of-the art sampling, data collection, and analysis methods to answer critical questions and guide future program decisions. We have successfully applied these methods at the community, state, regional, and federal levels.

Synergy’s research and evaluation professionals provide state-of-the-art, rigorous, cost-effective designs and methods. We emphasize collaboration as we support evidence-based programs around the country with data that helps them improve performance and build capacity. Our team includes researchers, statisticians, and epidemiologists with a broad range of subject matter expertise in areas such as public health and education.

Synergy’s evaluation team designs needs assessments; experimental and quasi-experimental studies; trend, gap, and cost-benefit analyses; environmental scans; and case studies using the methods most appropriate for the program. Our data collection approaches include:

  • Site visits
  • Focus groups
  • Cognitive interviews
  • Multimodal surveys, including online surveys
  • Geostatistical mapping
  • Literature reviews
  • Environmental scans

In addition, our research and evaluation designs and methods build in compliance with Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements and standards.

Our analytic skills range from the quantitative—such as national estimates using complex survey and sampling design, experiments embedded in complex surveys, appropriate tests of significance, and multivariate data analyses—to qualitative approaches, such as content analysis, coding of open-ended questions, and focus groups. We bring rigor and objectivity to all our work by following the position statements on ethical and cultural competency set forth by the American Educational Research Association, the American Evaluation Association, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers (AAPOR). ETAC for DoDEA Case

Synergy develops technical assistance (TA) strategies that include powerful and diverse resources and dissemination vehicles. We believe the foundation of effective TA is close collaboration with clients so that we can identify the activities and tools that will best strengthen programs and improve service quality.

Our proven approach to comprehensive TA is built on four key components:

  • Knowledge collection and management
  • Knowledge creation and product development
  • Knowledge transfer and dissemination
  • Project management and evaluation

Synergy’s scaled and flexible TA can provide:

  • Targeted services that focus on specific groups, delivered through webinars, conferences, site visits, and other approaches
  • Intensive services that address specific issues
  • Broad dissemination of information and resources to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, and families
  • In-person training and skill building

Our custom-built TA strategies consider adult learning practices and are based on the needs of the target audience. Additionally, we have the flexibility to respond to ad hoc needs and requests, provide continuous refinement of services, and offer sustained TA when needed. REMS TA Center Case

Synergy's information technology, communications, and doctoral-level instructional design experts use industry best practices to build state-of-the-art tools to teach skills and concepts in a variety of subject areas. Our blended approach integrates subject matter expertise with innovative technology and effective instructional design. We start with learner analysis, needs analysis, objective and assessment development, and media selection. Our subject matter experts and plain language writers help develop storyboards for each instructional step. We use multiplatform and multiscreen design techniques to develop engaging, customized information architecture plans for self-paced and timed courses. Our experts also ensure that download times are manageable, and that the privacy and security of module users are protected at all times. Our instructional developers work hand-in-hand with our internal user experience experts to provide the best possible look for each e-learning project we deliver. CSAP Fellows Program Case

Synergy's certified meeting managers, planners, and coordinators offer a range of support for conferences and meetings of all types (e.g., virtual, in-person, or multimedia), sizes (from 10-person focus groups to 4,000-person conventions), and duration (1-day to 2-week-long events). We have convened meetings at single and multiple locations locally, nationally, and globally. Synergy has managed pre-, onsite, and post-meeting support in China, Australia, Vietnam, Russia, Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Chile.

Our staff routinely facilitates industry panels and policy academies for organizations such as the Convention Industry Council; the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, National Capital Chapter; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Synergy collaborates with clients to produce a full range of materials, including program content, concise and cogent abstracts, quick-turnaround working notes for breakout sessions, and congressionally mandated reports and summaries.

At a minimum, we provide:

  • Secure online registration database design, maintenance, and reporting
  • Domestic and international travel support
  • Hotel selection and booking
  • Materials development
  • Webinars
  • Facilitation
  • Translation
  • Special needs accommodations
  • Pre-event and onsite support
  • Post-event support
  • Evaluation
  • Report preparation

Office of State Support Case

Synergy's specialized staff supports grant competitions and reviews that range from 1-day teleconferences and electronic reviews for one panel to highly complex week-long meetings requiring multiple panels that review hundreds of grant applications. Our team of competition specialists, review coordinators, grant supervisors, screeners, and system architects support grant programs that allow clients to efficiently identify qualified reviewers, develop program announcements, solicit applications, track grants through the review process, and provide management throughout the life of the grant. Our innovative grant implementation and management services include:

  • Tailored databases and Web applications for reviewer and grantee registration
  • Support for panel reviews
  • Continuous tracking and management of applicant data
  • Statistical tools to evaluate applicant strengths and weaknesses, which helps federal officials make funding decisions
  • Support for bidder conferences and reviewer trainings prior to grant reviews
  • Creation of grantee guides, brochures, and post-review evaluation instruments
  • Training and consultation to help grantees develop measurable project objectives, performance measures, and data collection activities for reporting

MEPI Case