How to Measure Training Effectiveness

May 16 2023
5 min read
How to Measure Training Effectiveness

If there’s one thing that every HR/L&D practitioner should ensure, it’s to optimize how they measure training effectiveness. With billions spent each year on employee learning programs, metrics are the best way to check if they are performing. And, while setting up an effective assessment framework takes effort, it pays off in the long run.

Doesn’t Everyone Measure Training Effectiveness?

The extent to which companies evaluate training results can vary depending on the development stage of the course. For example, if it’s a new course, there’s less of a chance that metrics have been decided. According to LinkedIn, only 5% of companies have implemented an assessment process for upskilling and reskilling courses.

In addition, not every assessment method is effective. The most popular way to measure the impact of skill-building programs is qualitative feedback. But using such a subjective approach means that it’s difficult to compare results, establish consistency, or refer to a benchmark.

As a result, organizations don’t have the ability to understand when courses are adequate. This translates to a lack of skills and satisfaction, both from employees and managers:

  • 75% of managers are dissatisfied with their organization’s L&D programs
  • Only 12% of workers apply the skills they learn through L&D to their jobs
  • 70% of employees feel that they don’t have enough skills to work productively

The Three Steps to Measure Employee Training Effectiveness

Like many HR programs, it takes time and a considered approach to construct an L&D measurement process. As you’ll see below, various resources are needed to set up methods that are efficient and accurate. Still, this level of effort is required to avoid the poor results that are common in the industry.

1. Identify Goals

All too often, employees receive training because “it’s the thing to do”. But there’s little thought given to what courses are meant to accomplish and how to decide if efforts are succeeding. So it’s imperative to start every L&D effort by setting goals.

But what does a successful L&D program look like? Well, that depends on your perspective. Employees want courses that are interesting and give them the right skills. HR managers like minimum administrative hassles and happy employees. And executives want cost effectiveness and a competitive workforce.

In view of this, you might want to set various goals. By interviewing stakeholders, you can find out which metrics they want to see, and define a range of goals accordingly.

2. Choose an Evaluation Model

Many theorists have devised frameworks to show which goals are the most essential. They can serve as a checklist to determine if you have covered all the bases. You might need to add some goals to a particular model if stakeholders request it.

But keep in mind that, as models get more complex, the demands for data collection grow as well. In addition, if you rely on feedback from managers who are not trained in the model you choose, you will either need to teach them, or keep it as simple as possible. Some of the popular frameworks to consider are:

  • Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation: this model assesses employee reactions, learning, behavior, and results to measure the goals chosen in stage 1. Kirkpatrick is an older model, but is often preferred because of its simplicity.
  • The Phillips ROI Model: this framework is based on Kirkpatrick’s model but adds a stage. The five evaluation categories are reaction, learning, application, impact, and Return on Investment. By adding the last category, this framework is more appropriate to gauge the financial side of L&D.
  • Anderson’s Model of Learning Evaluation: This is a three step framework that concentrates on aligning organizational goals with learning programs. It compares goals to company needs, establishes the financial value of L&D programs, and identifies ways in which to deliver critical training across the organization.

3. Collect and Analyze Data

Each model requires various types of information and so multiple sources will be needed. These include:

  • Course evaluation forms
  • HR-employee interviews
  • Managerial feedback before, during, and after a course
  • Focus groups

It is advisable to use some kind of digital platform to distribute questionnaires and store results. This will make the process of analysis even easier.

During the analysis, you’ll compare the goals set in step 1 to the results of the L&D program. But remember two issues:

  • When behavior changes, it can take time to see the final outcome. For instance, if a salesperson learns a new communication skill, it might be a while until they fully get the hang of it.
  • Employees who do not use newly-learned skills can easily forget them, according to the forgetting curve. So it’s important for workers to apply their skills soon after a course ends.

Both of these factors mean that data collection and analysis don’t end when a course is complete. Additional evaluation is advisable, for example, a month, three months, and half a year once a course has finished.     

GrowthSpace Gets Great Grades for Measurement

The many steps that you have to take to implement a measurable L&D program can be mostly eliminated – if you go for GrowthSpace. GrowthSpace puts assessment front and center for every course, and uses its own proprietary, intuitive method for evaluating success.

Through a single platform, HR/L&D teams can set KPIs, gather data, and make results-based decisions according to success rates, both for employees and instructors. The same technology also matches employees to training experts and enables L&D course management. With such abilities, it’s no wonder that GrowthSpace has been chosen by leading companies and industry authorities as a top platform for personalized employee development. 

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