As with all business decisions, investment in training and human resources development needs to be measured against the expected outcomes and goals. Justifying the opportunity cost of resources deployed in training is a standard business requirement. Whether the training was successful and resulted in measurable improvements in performance and productivity levels of the trainees were the objectives achieved, what were the shortcomings, etc., are some of the questions that only a training evaluation can answer. No training is complete without an impact study. The assessment cycle is not a one-time exercise but an ongoing and continuous process.
The training evaluation process is a factor of many elements, and it runs through multiple stages. A misstep at any stage can lead to suboptimal and poor outcomes impacting returns negatively. Therefore, the following stages should be carefully strategized for a meaningful training assessment.
The above processes are critical in a comprehensive evaluation of training. It can be time-consuming and requires effort and resources. Current technology, however, can help in reducing the tediousness and provide pertinent information. Analytical and related tools can give excellent results for making data-based decisions. With remote learning becoming mainstream in current times, the only way to use technology for training evaluation. Innovative automation tools can be easily leveraged to do the required task more efficiently and at a lower cost. Trainers and businesses should implement and take advantage of technological advancements to streamline the gamut of the evaluation process—ongoing, formative, and embedded, and summative assessments.
Some common training evaluation and data collection tools and the related technology enablers are listed below.
Evaluation tool—Observation: Seeing and noting how a learner's behavior, knowledge, and attitude change. Moreover, observing how the learned skills are applied in a real-life work situation can provide the observer with invaluable insight into the impact of training. Though this technique is usually applied for a post-training assessment, it can be extended during training also.
Technology tool: LMS integrated Observation Checklists( https://www.gyrus.com/blog/observation-checklists-a-must-have-LMS-feature-in-2021/ ) not only helps in assessment but also tracks and records evaluation and performance data for applying analytics.
Evaluation tool—Tests: Testing knowledge through exams, quizzes, interactions, multiple-choice questions, etc., is a tried and tested assessment method. It can be applied at any stage of the evaluation -baseline, midterm or exit, and post-training stages- to measure quantifiable changes.
Technology tool: A feature-rich LMS can create an assessment of choice. Be it quizzes, fill in the blanks, multiple choice, etc., any type can be configured or even imported. Scoring and grading can be parameterized, automated, progress reached and recorded.
Evaluation tool: Surveys—Circulating questionnaires and surveys amongst the targeted audience to get feedback and opinions about the training, content, delivery, ease of use, and other related aspects. This is usually post-training when the trainees have gone back to the work situation but can be administered anytime.
Technology tool: Employee training software can be used to create surveys for evaluation of training effectiveness. LMS can be used to deliver surveys over mobile devices using standard templates or create need-based specific ones. Online survey tools like Google Forms, Kahoot, Socrative, Formative, etc., are also available for this purpose.
Evaluation tool: Industry Standard Evaluation Models-- Applying evaluation models for impact assessment helps in systemizing the process of feedback and data collection. For example, the Kirkpatrick Model is an established tool using 4 levels of criteria for evaluation viz. Reaction (measures participants' response to the training like satisfying, engaging, relevant, etc.) Learning (determines takeaways and skill improvement), Behavior (evaluates knowledge application), Results (assesses impact and benefit of training like sales growth, customer satisfaction ratings, ROI, etc.). Similar other models like Kaufman's Five Levels of Evaluation, The Phillips ROI model, The CIRO model, Anderson's model of learning evaluation, etc., are available for application as per the organization's need and best fit.
Technology tool: The above models analyze data gathered from observations, tests, questionnaires, surveys, etc. Technology-enabled forums, chats, video interactions can be used to gauge reaction. Online interviews and video conferencing along with quizzes, real-life case studies, and tests can be used to assess knowledge absorption. Observation checklists, reviewing performance metrics, and online surveys can be used to measure changes in behavior and application of learning. Most of these can be automated and customized through an LMS.
In conclusion, training program evaluation is analyzing the value addition provided by and how efficient and effective training programs are. It involves impact assessment of training and how training helps in accomplishing the company's strategic objectives. Though many evaluation methods exist, the choice depends on organizational goals and objectives. However, evaluation is a must for training to make business sense. Streamlining the processes involved, the data gathering, and analytics is feasible with technology. Tests, surveys, focus groups, quizzes, interviews, performance records, etc., are all incorporated in an LMS for best outcomes at lower costs.
At Gyrus, we are deeply invested in learning. Our world-class GyrusAim LMS offers a unified training and evaluation platform. It enables comprehensive assessment analytics, assessment reports, performance measures, progress tracking, and feedback. Its in-built Assessment Builder and capabilities make complete testing, pre-tests, post-tests, or any other stage most convenient. In addition, customization features enable assessment as per the requirement to truly evaluate the impact of employee training. Please feel free to get in touch with us for any aspect of your training requirement and for streamlining your evaluation process.