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Review: Evaluating Training

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Evaluating training - Book review
Title: Evaluating Training (From personal insight to organisation performance) Second Edition
Author(s): Peter Bramley
Publisher: CIPD
ISBN: 1-84398-030-4
Price: £24.99
Reviewer: Angela Busby.


For those not familiar with Peter Bramley’s work this is a good place to start. “Evaluating Training (From personal insight to organisational performance, 2nd edition)”, is from beginning to end – an excellent resource. Do not let the size or the look of this book fool you, this is a well-written, comprehensive work, that would be a good addition to any training practitioner’s bookshelf. The layout of this soft-covered, relatively compact book is easy to follow, and very accessible. Uncluttered pages make it easy to read text or take in the information presented on the various tables found throughout the book. The style is consistent throughout and the author effectively uses examples to support and explain concepts being presented. Even for a reader without an extensive background in training, let alone the evaluation of training, could pick up this book, understand and start to use it almost immediately.

In this second edition, the author provides us with a “how to” for building evaluation into every stage of training. The information presented is reflective of the many changes that have occurred and are occurring in today’s varied training environments. Tapping into resources from both the US and UK – the author is able to provide the reader with up-to-date and current examples, approaches and techniques to use when evaluating training and learning, regardless of organisational size or type of training being delivered. The reader, whether new to training evaluation or a seasoned veteran, will find the Summary, In Brief and References and Further Reading sections at the end each chapter particularly useful. Techniques presented are clearly described and detailed, providing the reader with the benefit of the author’s extensive experience and knowledge of evaluation. Evaluation as presented here, becomes a vehicle for continuous improvement of training and learning programmes as opposed to the collection of feedback forms that provide little or no tangible or useful information. The emphasis on evaluation being part of all stages of training, from determining if training is needed, to the development and delivery of training, to on-the-job application, is consistently stated and supported throughout this work.

The addition of several new sections helps to create this book’s comprehensiveness. These new sections provide the reader with the information and direction required to effectively address today’s training evaluation needs. New sections include, linking training to employee effectiveness, application of cost benefit analysis, and the effective presentation of evaluation findings. These topics are often under presented or completely left out of other books on this subject. Once again, the reader benefits from Bramley’s extensive knowledge and understanding of evaluation and the powerful impact that it can have.

One downside to this book is that on first glance those more attracted to books using “fun or quirky” graphics and fonts might pass on selecting it for use. In doing this, they will be missing out on valuable information and insight into evaluation of training. Although initially engaging many of the current crop of guidebooks for evaluation of training, or measuring the impact of training and so on, quickly fall short on substance. Given the choice I will take substance over style – especially when it comes to evaluation of training. I look forward to having a well-thumbed copy on my desk for some time to come.

Angela Busby CMP, CTT+, ICPD (Fellow) is Assistant Manager Professional Development at Group Insurance Underwriting, Great West Life Assurance Co. [email protected].

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