One of the most important aspects of any training strategy is to know how to properly evaluate its effectiveness. Read our latest article to figure out how:
By now, you’ve probably invested a lot of resources into your company’s learning and development program. But how sure are you that it’s successful and getting great results? A good place to start is by knowing what you want to achieve throughout your company’s L&D and determining how to measure those goals.
Putting the ‘Value’ in Evaluation
It’s important to always figure out what works and what doesn’t with your learning programs so that it becomes an opportunity to validate if it’s making a positive difference on employees and the company. After all, you wouldn’t want to deliver training that doesn’t provide expected results.
Also, by measuring the impact of learning programs, you can:
- Know whether your learning is working,
- Be able to report and measure training effectiveness,
- Provide the basis for decision-making, and
- Collect data — the foundation of your future learning design and strategy
Ultimately, evaluating training efforts will allow you to create and demonstrate its value; building your business care for learning not just to stakeholders but also to key executives in your organization.
How to Measure Your Learning Program
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach that works best when assessing the ROI of training.
There are many variables training professionals need to consider when determining how to evaluate learning programs, including the organization’s goals and culture, stakeholders and audience’s needs, resources, time, budgets, data collection methods and tools, and even the different types of knowledge and skills they’re trying to impart.
So, consider these best practices in evaluating the effectiveness of your learning programs:
1. Clearly define your learning goals
The first thing you need to be clear about is what your goals are. This serves as a basis and guide for so many things in the learning program. By asking, “What outcome do we want as a result of this learning program?” you won’t only isolate the program’s learning goals, but also identify the results.
In deciding these objectives, be sure that they’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based, and tie back to the department or organization’s goals.
For instance, if your company’s overall goal is to improve collaboration within global teams and interaction with international clients by providing employees with a language program, you can take a look at progress reports and managerial/customer feedback to see whether the skills they’ve developed have helped them communicate better with the people around them.
If learners are advancing in their language levels, then that’s great! Your training is doing well as expected. But if some are falling behind, then it’s time for learning leaders to step in and help those who need additional guidance.
When it comes to designing and delivering training programs, you should always “begin with the end in mind.” This ensures that every step of the learning journey is connected to valuable business outcomes.
2. Look for success in the right places
Say, learners are now months into their language program and have already learned a handful of new words, phrases, and sentences. But to assess how much of those they’ve actually remembered and applied, would you look at their attendance or test scores? Of course not. Instead, you’d be looking at their learning progress over time, the knowledge and skills acquired, and how well they’re performing at work using those newly found skills.
It’s easy to see if learners are spending time learning and completing activities, but if their training hasn’t helped them do their jobs better and be more productive, then you might want to rethink your learning strategy.
In the world of work, numbers and figures may be good for measuring training activities, but has all this training produced results on-the-job such as productivity and confidence? To get even more meaningful results, learning leaders should also measure the impact of training on employee behavior and their skill sets since the end goal for corporate training should be to improve the skill sets of people!
3. Evaluate now and after
Oftentimes, organizations will go about measuring their learning program only after it has ended. While this is also important, it only provides part of the picture.
To get a more in-depth look at the progress of your learners, it’s better to take baseline measurements at the beginning of a program and monitor how it’s increasing or decreasing over time. The more data you collect on measurable outcomes, the easier it will be to quantify your company’s return on investment.
The key is to frequently and regularly monitor what’s happening. In that way, you can make changes to the program as soon as it’s needed. Additionally, this will help you draw valuable conclusions that can be shown to the company’s decision-makers.
You can conduct additional reviews after six or 12 months to measure ongoing results or drop-off rates or make use of the reports generated from the company’s LMS, LXP or intranet. Which brings us to our next tip, leveraging learning analytics.
4. Take advantage of learning analytics
Learning analytics plays a major role in evaluating training and its effectiveness in any organization. It can give you an overall picture of how employees are progressing, how quickly they’re completing activities, and how often they access their training resources.
All of this data will help you gauge just how effective your training really is, provide insights into a problem/opportunity, and even forecast what might happen next — creating opportunities to supply targeted support.
For example, if you’re observing most employees aren’t taking a specific course because the content isn’t relevant to their job tasks, then you might want to offer them more resources that they can better understand and apply in real-life situations.
By taking these 4 key tips in mind, the easier it will be to know if your training strategy is on the right track or needs a major overhaul. What evaluation tip will you most likely apply to your company’s training program?