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Evaluation: a managers role !!!



Looking for any thoughts on the role a manager has when evaluating the success of a learning event that one of their staff has attended.

Is all that is required a post (and even pre) course discussion between manager and learner.

How can the resulting skills / behaviours be evaluated? and should it be down to the learners managers to do this?

Interested to hear anyone's view point on this.


Darren Toms

11 Responses

  1. Managers role in evaluation

    I have worked with 3 models that might help
    a- Text Book Learning in advance of the course – manager and trainee review assignments,questions etc pre and post course
    b- As part of outcomes under performance assessment objectives drawn up under SMART criteria

    c- Attending course together and having a structured discussionthereafter. Handle with care though


  2. Only 100%

    (These comments assume that we’re talking about the trainee’s immediate manager)

    1. What is a manager doing sending someone on a course, or allowing them to go on a course if s/he doesn’t have a clear understanding that the person has specific training needs?

    2. Why is the manager letting the employee go on THAT particular course, rather than any other? No matter who initiated the training request, the manager should have a clear idea of what they expect trainee will do when they complete the course. Why else are they spending money?

    3. It is the manager’s job to explain to the trainee WHY they are going on the course, WHAT they are expected to get out of it, and HOW their learning will be evaluated when they return from the course.

    4. The manager should be directly involved in a post-course process that ensures that the trainee feeds the maximum from the training into their post-course performance.

    In short, the manager (in conjunction with the training dept., if any) should be ensuring that their people get the best and most appropriate training; that the employees understand that the company takes training seriously; and that the effect of training is optimised in the workplace.

    Obviously the trainee has responsibilities as well: to attend the sessions on time, to pay attention, to get the most they can out of the training, to feed back the pro’s and con’s of the course for future reference, and so on, but in the final analysis it is the manager who carries the can.

  3. Managers’ role in post-training evaluation starts with the deter
    I am an advocate of involving the manager in the post-training evaluation process before training has even started. Often training is a result of an identified “gap” in the skills and/or knowledge of an employee or group of employees. The manager should be the one to determine — “what they need to do or know” at the end of training.

    Assessment/evaluation of what has been learned can be the responsibility of both the training department and the manager. The training department should provide well desiged, easily deployed evaluation tools, that the manager can use to measure for the desired results.

    In addition, both learner and manager can complete pre-training skills/knowledge surveys to ensure that everyone is aware of what level of skill/knowledge that the learner went into training with and how much they need to take away with them.

    Any training should be a coordinated endeavour between managers, training/trainers, and learners — after all everyone should have the same goal for the training, helping employees do their jobs better.

  4. Inbuilt Evaluation
    As part of our blended learning programmes, at the start of the programme, we get the line manager and trainee to complete an online survey that seeks to obtain the business and personal objectives for attending the course. In both cases, we ask for measures of success to be developed, things that will show both the line manager and trainee that there has been an impact.

    During and at the end of the programme, following a period of transfer of learning, we re-survey the managers and trainees and ask them to reflect back on the measures they defined at the start.

    This way, all parties witness first hand any impact from the training.

  5. Manager’s role vital in transfer, not always in evaluation
    Hi Darren

    Recent research has shown line managers to be vital in assisting transfer of learning from any event back to the workplace. Pre and post course discussions between manager and learner are especially important.

    When it comes to evaluation however, it depends exactly what you want to know from the evaluation and who are the most important stakeholders. These may be line managers, but not necessarily. If they are, however, success will depend on how familiar the line manager is with each learner’s skills and abilities and how good each manager is at, for example, coaching or observation.

    There’s a free report on improving evaluation at if you’re interested.

    Best wishes

    – Ruth

  6. Personal Development Evaluation

    Just a few notes on what I request and on most occasions happens.

    I have prepared a PD Evaluation form which includes pre-course briefing with between delegate and their manager. This is to discuss reasons for going on the course; usually identified during appraisal, role change or some new project/objective. It would include course content and key learning points.

    There is included in the course a section on course feedback Tutor style/Environment/Handouts/relevance to job role etc.

    We then have a third section which involves delegate and manager discussing learning outcomes. Discussion should then take place which identifies opportunities for the individual to put into practice what they have learnt. Usually taking the form of an observed event, project or work related objective linked to learning.

    I am not saying we achieve 100% but certainly the whole process has encouraged the manager to be involved in the development process, which I believe is crutial to effective work related development.

    The task/project/objective can then be used as measure of learning and ability to apply.



  7. A shared role
    The managers role in evaluation occupies part of the evaluation process, consider the following:

    The first level of evaluation can be determined by the learners them selves; how do they feel about what has just happened, what has been their experience – good or bad?

    The second level is the evaluation of the learning received, in other words what new knowledge have they acquired and retained. Have they learned something new or reinforced something?

    The third level is behavioural evaluation, are they now able to demonstrate new skills or behaviours. In other words can they demonstrate physical application of their learning.

    The fourth level is job level evaluation, can the individual now do their job better, faster, more efficiently.

    The fifth level is organisational evaluation, if this person does the job better, is it making an impact in their area of the business or the organisation as a whole.

    The manager has direct and a main responsibility for evaluation at the fourth and fifth levels. Levels 1 through to 3 are the principal concerns of the trainer although the manager might play an additional role here.

  8. managers must be involved
    Hi Darren,
    you seem to have generated quite a bit of interest here!
    My advice would be to look at the process in reverse. What are you looking to achieve at the end of the course? Usually this would suggest some form of performance or attitiude change. This need for change should have been identified in the annual performance appraisal but if for some reason it is more recent than that then at the very least the manager must have identified the need? As such he really needs to be at the forefront of bringing about the change and not at the end.
    The other benefit to this of course is that the manager retains some responsibility for the ROI, as he/she should.
    I hope that helps.

  9. How to Evaluate?

    We have a program set up where the department has staff meetings; at these meetings anyone who has taken a training class, been on a course or workshop then gives a shorter version of that to their colleagues. This is one way for the manager to see what was learned and if it was worthwhile.

    This seems to have worked successfully and everyone then can gain new knowledge.

    Been interesting reading everyone’s comments. Good luck,

    Barb Slater
    Costa Mesa, CA

  10. Evaluating the success of a learning event
    Hi Darren,

    A learning-metrics system can be implemented by understanding the goals underlying a training program.

    Generally, a job should be driven by quantifiable objectives – e.g. volumes processed, items assembled, increased billings, time saved, etc.

    The employee performing the job will require training if he / she needs to gain new or develop existing knowledge and skills on how to perform the job so as to achieve the job’s quantifiable objectives.

    Based on the above, several steps should be taken:

    1. Pre-course knowledge / skill gap analysis conducted by Manager and employee (and others if needed – 360-degree consultation).

    2. Manager (with direct responsibility for employee’s performance targets) and employee agree on a learning / development “contract” containing quantifiable targets – e.g. within next 12 months increase employee’s fee income by 20% to a level that gives 4 times coverage of the employee’s annual salary.

    3. Review relevant courses and select the course that is most appropriate for the above targets.

    4. Attend the course.

    5. Post-course discussion between Manager and employee about what was learned and how it can be applied towards achieving the above targets.

    6. Periodic review of employee performance through measurement against targets, review of factors affecting the achievement of targets, and adjustment of certain factors if necessary.

    Both Manager and employee should be actively involved in the target setting and measurement process. The employee has direct responsibility for performing the job, and the Manager has direct responsibility to “manage” the employee’s performance.


    Michael Beaton

  11. Manager Evaluation
    I designed a tool for line managers of delegates to use for a Coaching Skills course. However the model can be adapted for other training needs. Feel free to download a copy at – free trainer resources – TNA and Evaluation – Coaching Skills.
    Hope that helps. Happy Days!
    Bryan Edwards


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