Ignoring This Simple Step Could Derail Your Training Efforts

August 23, 2016

Elizabeth is a training professional who was asked to design a leadership development program. She went ahead and created a program, but did so without having the end result in mind. At the end of the program, it was not clear what results the program was supposed to produce.

What could Elizabeth have done differently?

Nearly every goal-setting philosophy begins with a clear vision of the desired end result. While this principle is quite simple and easy to understand, examples of people ignoring it abound.

In the world of training and development, many workplace learning professionals with the best of intentions embark on designing, developing, and delivering training programs without a clear vision of what is expected as a result of the program.

But why do we evaluate training programs?

There are three major reasons to evaluate training programs:

  • To improve the program
  • To maximize transfer of learning to behavior and subsequent organizational results
  • To demonstrate the value of training to the organization

Most training professionals are accustomed to evaluating training programs for the purpose of improving the program. Using formative (during the program) and summative (after the program) methods, they ask questions related to how participants enjoyed the program, whether they learned key information and how the program might be improved for future sessions. This type of information is useful to learning and performance professionals to gauge the quality of their training programs, materials and presenters. If evaluation of the training program shows that the program was well-received and key information was learned, then the program can be called effective training

More savvy training professionals realize that even the most well-designed and well-received training programs are of little use unless what is learned in training gets implemented on the job. This is often called the transfer of learning to behavior. If what was learned translates into improved job performance, then it is possible for better organizational results to be achieved. If training evaluation shows that on-the-job performance increased and results improved, then training effectiveness has occurred.

Finally, learning and performance professionals must be able to show the organizational value of their training. Like any other department in an organization, training is not exempt from showing how the resources allocated to them have been put to use. By gathering data related to effective training and training effectiveness, learning and performance professionals can credibly show the value that training has brought to the organization.

To learn more about evaluating training programs, join Jim Kirkpatrick at the ATD Core4 Conference 2016 for his session, “First Things First: The Foundational Principles of Training Evaluation.”

In this session, you will learn the Kirkpatrick Foundational Principles and the true four levels of training evaluation. You will obtain practical techniques to connect training and evaluation to improve on-the-job performance and subsequent business results. You will also leave with a sample evaluation form, as well as tips to better see how well your participants are reacting to your training and learning what they need to do back on the job.

Additional Resources
Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation 

Creating ROE: The End Is the Beginning

Kirkpatrick Featured in TD at Work

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