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How do you measure the effectiveness of your training initiatives?


In the second of our blog posts from our TrainingZone webinar ‘How to get more value from your training investment’, we asked Omar Layhani, VP and GM of Saba Testing & Assessment, for some insight into typical methods currently used to evaluate the effectiveness of training. 

It is hard to collect true feedback via online surveys, so how do you measure and evaluate training?

Automate the feedback process to increase return rates
I wouldn’t say it is hard to collect feedback, you don’t always get the return rates that you want, but people are mostly quite honest.  We find that maybe 30-40% of people fill out an online survey if you are lucky.  If you need higher return rates you use paper based assessments, after the course in a very traditional way but have an automated way to scan in and collate the results. 

I like the concept of pre and post course assessments - but find them difficult to implement as participants can be lazy to complete unless incorporated in the session.

Use mobile devices for training evaluation
One option is to do it on mobile devices.  A couple of our customers deliver iPads to the trainees when they come to the training course and then use them for various purposes including accessing more training documentation or the learning management platform, as well as for accessing the surveys and tests. 

Are happy sheets a valid feedback mechanism?

Create questions that predict skills transfer and application on the job
They are if you follow some simple guidelines.  Make sure that you are not just measuring actual happiness with the training -you need to look at questions that predict skills transfer and application on the job.  Ask people if they think what they have learned is meaningful, if they will apply it to their job, or if they think there will be any problems, etc.   It is better to develop a few generic questions that you can ask for all training courses then you can use the results to compare feedback over time. 

We also asked the same question to webinar attendees and here are some of the responses:

We don't bother with happy sheets anymore.  We capture applied learning through sharing case studies and on the job assessments.

 All programmes have 'happy sheets' we do ROI for all programmes.  We ask the business what they want and deliver their objectives.

We struggle with the follow up of whether the training actually DID have a business benefit and what that was, versus asking if people think it will.

I've collated happy sheet info but the business is often not interested in this data. What they want is proof that employees have put what they have learned into practise.

In order to measure effectively if people are applying the learning, you need to ask their managers and peers. The learners are often biased.

Happy sheets give an immediate feel for how the training went, but it is more important that we can measure application of skills/modification of behaviour in the workplace.

Happy sheets are an immediate temperature check. If the training was fun the results will be positive. It doesn't measure whether people will make a sustainable change as a result of the training.

Attendees need an 'incentive' to complete assessments. We have seen that if we withhold certification or do not show the learning as completed before assessments are done it helps.

Hear more from Omar, download the webinar recording and slide set.

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