No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

EvaluationZone – special taster article


This special article, written exclusively by Paul Kearns for subscribers and those interested in finding out more about the EvaluationZone programme, looks at why learners should be doing more than just ticking happy sheets when they attend courses.

Evaluation is for the trainee not the trainer

Ask anyone in training why they are considering using evaluation and they are likely to reply that it will help them demonstrate their worth and thereby justify their existence. You might be surprised to know that this is not the main reason for doing evaluation and never will be because evaluation has much more to offer the trainee than it does the trainer. In fact, evaluation should not even be undertaken by the trainer but by the trainee themselves.

If you have never seen evaluation in this light before then consider this perspective. Have you ever tried to develop a manager, particularly in the soft skills area, maybe listening skills or empathising with their team? There are several pre-conditions that you have to get right if this type of development is to have any chance of being effective.

First, the manager must genuinely believe that they need development in soft skills. Now we can do this to a certain extent by asking their staff to give them feedback or by doing a simple analysis of where their strengths and weaknesses lay. We might convince the manager that they do indeed have a developmental need in this area but what if they do not accept it?

Second, even if the manager accepts the need for the training or development they may well ask whether these skills are relevant to the business. However, if an evaluation system is in place it forces the trainee to ask themselves the question 'if I improve my soft skills what difference will it make to the performance of my team?' If the manager concerned cannot see this link then what commitment do they have to learning new skills? In other words, evaluation encourages learning and this has always been the main purpose of evaluation.

Now, as trainers, we can ignore this question if we like and just organise a developmental intervention; whether it be a training programme or assigning a personal coach. In other words we can focus the training on the skills rather than the results. The problem with skipping this question though is how will the trainee know that: -

a. Their soft skills have improved?
b. These new skills are having the desired effect on the team?
c. The team's performance is improving and they are making a greater contribution to the business?

Asking the manager to go through this mental sequence before they are developed is an extraordinarily powerful learning tool. The learning starts immediately before the development intervention itself starts. And it is a no-lose situation.

If the manager cannot make the right connections then what use will the development be to them? So this means we have to get them to understand the real connections between soft skills and performance. If they do make the connection they are now, inevitably, much clearer in their own minds about what the development is meant to achieve and should have a much higher level of motivation in taking part.

When trainers realise what the real purpose of evaluation is and how little effort they have to put in they will see it in an entirely different light. Join EvaluationZone and see how to get your trainees to make it work for you.

More details about EvaluationZone
Subscribe to EvaluationZone


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!