Winterize your Training Programs

offseasonI have an extensive sports background beginning with Little League Baseball and ending with two-years of college football. I always hated the end of football season for obvious reasons and the long lull in between seasons. But, mainly our team goal wasn’t met and almost always coaches never gave feedback on what prevented us from being successful. I guess just like any training or learning program installed to achieve certain goals directed at advancing a students success the evaluation fell short of actually identifying what went wrong. Sure everyone gets individual accolades (performance reviews, awards etc…) for what they contributed during the year but are team goals addressed.

Why Measure Training Effectiveness?

Measuring the effectiveness of training programs consumes valuable time and resources. As we know all too well, these things are in short supply in organizations today. Why should we bother?

Many training programs fail to deliver the expected organizational benefits. Having a well-structured measuring system in place can help you determine where the problem lies. On a positive note, being able to demonstrate a real and significant benefit to your organization from the training you provide can help you gain more resources from important decision-makers.

Consider also that the business environment is not standing still. Your competitors, technology, legislation and regulations are constantly changing. What was a successful training program yesterday may not be a cost-effective program tomorrow. Being able to measure results will help you adapt to such changing circumstances.

Figure 1 – Kirkpatrick Model for Evaluating Effectiveness of Training Programs

  • Level 4 – Results
    What measurable organizational benefits resulted from the training in terms such as productivity, efficiency and sales revenue?
  • Level 3 – Behavior
    To what extent did participants change their behavior back in the workplace as a result of the training?
  • Level 2 – Learning
    To what extent did participants improve knowledge and skills and change attitudes as a result of the training?
  • Level 1 – Reaction
    To what extent did the participants find the training useful, challenging, well-structured, organized, and so on?

Since we are rolling over into a new year and this winter holiday lull is almost over it would be a great time to review evaluation systems in your organization. Gather your training and eLearning folks and have a great discussion on how to better deliver training for your staff. I bet that almost everything you outline and discuss will have some type of measurement included that can be very helpful for the upcoming year.