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Evaluating effectiveness of programmes


My boss has tasked our team with coming up with ideas on how we can evaluate the effectiveness/cost effectiveness of our training programmes.
How do we measure this....

Anyone done any work on this before? Can you give me some ideas please?

Lisa Birch

3 Responses

  1. Start as You Mean to Go On

    There’s good news and there’s bad news, so in time honoured fashion here’s the bad news first:

    In many cases, the actual useful transfer of knowledge via a training course is, AT BEST, just 13% of 13% – or in plain English, 1.69%.

    OK, now I (hopefully) have your attention, you can push this figure up to 80% and more by providing adequate pre- and post training support.

    An important part of that support (and this is the answer to your question) is to have a very clear idea of what EXACTLY you expect people to get from a training course. What WILL the trainees do (notice, NOT “what will they ‘be able’ to do” – an unused ability is worth nothing) as a consequence of attending the course?

    This is your baseline and should be fully understood by both the prospective trainee AND their supervisor/manager BEFORE the employee attends the course.

    After the course, part of the post-course support should be regular (increasingly brief) meetings between the trainee and their manager to discuss the trainee’s post-course progress, as measured against the targets set before the course, and have an agreed summary of each discussion sent to whoever is responsible for that particular course AND the training manager.

    Not only does this provide a very practical form of course evaluation, it also ensures that employees and managers see for themselves whether training is of any value.

    It’s also a very effective way of finding out when courses (internal OR external) just aren’t providing value for money.

    There is, of course, more to facilitating effective training than just getting honest feedback. but that wasn’t what you asked about


  2. Watch for measurables when identifying training needs
    Providing your training objectives are measurable then you will be able to measure how much things have improved post course.
    Areas you might like to focus on are

    Reactions – during training , immediately after or some time after
    learning, before and after
    Behavioural change
    Organisation/departmental and ulitmate value.

    Methods might be Questionnaires, interviews, group discussion, reports, objective tests, exam projects, diaries, critical incident analysis, organisational performance.

    You might find the work of A. C Hamblin on evaluation most useful when trying to justify both cost and ultimate vale to any organisation.

    Training Zone and CIPD both have some quite good pages also.

    Good luck

  3. Use EvaluationZone!

    If you’d like some one-to-one coaching on this subject, becoming a member of EvaluationZone will give you access to some detailed guidance and assistance from Paul Kearns, who’s well known for his work in this area. For more details, see

    Stephanie Phillips
    Editor, TrainingZONE


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