The present research addressed the issue of 'life after a course'. The study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of four in-service teacher-training courses at the Hong Kong Institute of Education in terms of their usefulness and relevance to the teachers' needs on return to school. An end-of-course evaluation questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire were sent six months after the courses to see if there were any significant differences in the participants' views on the effectiveness of a course at two different time points. Qualitative data collected from interviews between the tutors and participants six months after the courses were also analysed to find out which aspects of the courses were considered to be most useful to the teachers on their return to school, and why they were useful. The findings from the research give valuable insights into the design of teacher-education courses. Copyright © 1998 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.