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How to ensure effective evaluation


I have to prove that the training we are currently completing is impacting both on the individual and the business. We currently use feedback forms as our main evaluation tool. Any others or cutting edge techniques that any one would recommend?
Nick Gillett

5 Responses

  1. Get hard data…
    I’m an IT trainer – so some of this may not apply to soft skills people…

    Is your training supported afterwards, eg by a helpdesk/careline? For IT trainers the helpdesk database provides valuable information on numbers of calls on a topic before and after a training rollout.

    Also, learning leads to a change in behaviour – is it possible for you to ask those around the learners if behaviour has changed – for example if the learners ask for help from nearby colleagues less often.

    If you can quantify the amount of time saved by the new skills your learners have acquired, that tends to go down well with the board!

  2. Pre and post-course testing
    I’m in the same situation. One method I’m thinking of using (again for IT) is pre and post-course skills testing. Preferably the post-course should be done twice – once at the end of the course and again after an interval to see how much has been retained.

    The classic response from evaluation experts is that you start by asking business managers what value they would put on their staff gaining a particular skill. They then need to address exactly hat they are looking for. Afterwards you either ask a simple Yes/No can they do it now (and claim that monetary value) or ask for % improvement. I remain sceptical as to how easy that is to do, though.

  3. Evaluation Help in the Toolkit!
    Take a look at the excellent article/resource by Leslie Rae – A four stage evaluation approach under Toolkit – Training Methods. It may be that the forms and approach Leslie is proposing are a more effective way of highlighting improvement than your existing forms.
    Good luck

  4. Evaluation
    There are also loads of books available which just look at and address evaluation training, my library has 15. There are some which are better than others and for my money this is my recommended reading list on this topic:

    Title: Training Evaluation & Measurement Methods
    Author: Jack J Philips
    Publisher: Kogan Page
    ISBN: 0-7494-0548-1

    I’ve put this at the top of the list because I rate it the top. It’s a compendium of evaluation methods which rather than following one system or approach lists dozens of different examples and as such provides a rich source of ideas which can be developed and utilised by the creative HR specialist.

    Title: Evaluating Training Programme
    Author: Donald L. Kirkpatrick
    Publisher: BK
    ISBN: 1-881052-49-4

    This guy is like the guru of evaluation and his ‘4 Levels’ model has become almost a defacto standard and to learn about this approach I think going to the source is a better idea than reading a publication which is predominantly derivative in nature which many are.

    Title: Evaluating Training Effectiveness
    Author: Peter Bramley
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill
    ISBN: 0-07-707331-2

    This is from the excellent McGraw-Hill Training Series its gives a number of ideas and systems which the other books do not cover and is worth getting, but only after you have read the above.

    Garry Platt
    [email protected]
    Senior Consultant
    Woodland Grange

  5. Value for money
    It may help you to think about integrating evaluation and assessment. Whereas evaluation is measurement of what the trainer has achieved, assessment is measurement of what the trainee has achieved. Whereas evaluation is common, assessment is not. Where assessment is undertaken, assessment data is often not integrated with evaluation data. Consistently positive feedback from trainees’ evaluations is not an indicator of significant attainment of learning outcomes in the knowledge, skill and value domains. Unfortunately most research indicates that there is little long-term benefit following most training in that there is rapid forgetting and competency decay. The usual response is to blame the training and to ignore factors which relate to the trainees, their working environment and organisational culture. Unless a whole-organisation approach is adopted, as with the behavioural approach to safety training, results are likely to be disappointing.


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