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Evaluating training and learning – online workshop report


Proceedings of the online workshop held on 6 October 1999.

Why don't we just kick off anyway Tony. What are your thoughts about evaluating learning itself?
Welcome Dave - we're just getting started.
I have spent the last 7 years with Dale carnegie Training and, as such, we like to measure what we do. However, in the real worl I wonder whether Level 1and 2 is reasonable to do but Levels 4 and 5 (return on investment) is somewhat costly. What views do you have?
I'm a fan of NVQs in theory but not in practice. I'm worried by the drop-out rate - people do not see it through
NVQ's are good for measuring the competencies of people but how would you measure what impact this has on the business?
Where possible, we try to link individual units to specific business issues and track progress/results through K.P.I's. The K.P.I's of course being linked to the bottom line
That's great but do you find that the administration of this often rests with managers who are 'too busy' or don't buy in?
Hi Kevin, we are on to NVQ's at present. What experience do you have?
I talk to trainers about the critical importance of transferring their learning - from the training event into the real world. It must show up.
Hi All, ignore me I'm just making sure all is working OK.
I find that insufficient managers de-brief staff after learning; if this support is missing - to help people implement learning, the system breaks down
Tim - l don't know whether you agree but unless evaluation takes place a few months after training - and there have been some objectives, KPI's set, whatever, people probably could not even spot that they are doing something differently. It is all a bit too touchy-feely.even
Agreed Tony. 'Few months' may be too long. They need action plans shortly aafter the evnt which are reviewed.
We should be evolving most training/learning into the Action Learning model - not an event, more a continous process.
Again, I deal in the real world, mainly with SME's and the managers who should be doing the coaching, reviewing and helping with the action plans, are normally 'too busy'. Any ideas on how you bring them into the all important evaluation fold?
Hmmm. It's a major problem if the senior/middle managers don't see this as part of their role
The manager role needs to include both achievement of business goals AND suppport/development of staff
I have found that the managers who themselves have recently been'put through' a programme, with support, are very supportive of their staff, sneaky but effective.
In my experience, you can do what Dave suggests and lead the managers through a process that they see benefits them, give them a framework on which to work for their people - and then their Line Managers should ensure that they manage their managers - by giving them some clear objectives of own. However, how do get around the constant excuse that they were busy making money and couldn't do the follow-up?
Sneaky ?
A lot of this is back to organisational culture. Is the ethos just 'make more money' or does it balance this with care for staff?
One tactic I've used with managers is to say "if you don't follow up, you really have wasted your money". That stops them!
Absolutely right - its culture/ethos and this is where the CEO/MD must have a clear idea of where he/she wants to place training and development. Equally, once this has been identified, surely any right-minded leader would want to know the results of spending their money - but do they?
I sometimes wonder whether as trainers we should be more careful about selecting which organisations we work with - rewareding those where the support is more in place
Welcome Chris - we're just chatting about the managers's role in supporting training
If we are talking about practical evaluation of training, I think that I would starve, if I only worked with businesses that encouraged their managers to give the necessary support to their people! Hi Chris - what are tour views?
So Tony, Dave, what tools do you use in practice to get learners to evaluate what they've learned?
In Dale Carnegie, we use a thorough Level 1 to Level 2 form, developed by Motorola University for us, to evaluate both us as trainers, the cource content and various other issues - as well as finding out what actual changes have started in the participants. We follow the training up with a one to one with the participant and Line Manager, to see whether the changes that were identified before the training started, have become evident. That's it from our point of view.
I like your follow up with the line manager; I wish I could do that more often.
What does Dave do ensure that his process (whioch sounds great) id followed by the Managers?
The problem with a lot of the standard forms is that they are feedback forms, not true evaluation forms
Tim - I do quite a lot of work with Ford and their evaluation form is simply a Happy Sheet, although people are asked to predict what they will do differently. However, there is a section that has to be completed a month down the line - but whether the Training Officers chase them for this, I do not know!
It's gone quiet. Bit of a low turnout today. Is it because trainers avoid the issue of evaluating their work?
My suspicion about happy sheets is that no-one follows up
Do you want to call it a day? We're working hard to encourage participation - some take off, others less so, but the trend is upwards.
I don't know what happened there but I got cut off in my prime!
Lost you there. Was just suggesting we might finish. Low numbers today, but we're gradually getting more people to join in
I'll get a transcipt of all this and send it to you
Is there any technical way that I can read what has gone on before, as it is treating me like a new person? I was just saying that, as trainers, although we all want to feel that we are making a difference, maybe we need to focus on what the Clients want?
Re previous text, I'll send it to you afterwards. We should focus on the client but there is often a difference between what the commioner wants and what the learner wants. It get confused.
I have come to the conclusion that evaluation is boring! It is something that the participant thinks that is unecessary because he thinks he knows, managers because they don't have the time and Directors/owners because they are too bust to understand it! As no-one else is coming in - shall we call it a day?
for commioner read commissioner !
Ok. Thanks Tony for all your efforts. I'll follow up with you shortly. Over and out.


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