Any time you deliver training, you need to know how effective it has been. Are your learners putting what they have learnt into practice? Is it impacting positively on their own role within the organisation and the broader organisation? And because training programmes involve a substantial investment in terms of time and money, business leaders insist on seeing tangible value from a training programme. This emphasises the need to be able to measure the value of a training programme and tie it to hard evidence that adds to the bottom line.
To answer questions like these, Donald Kirkpatrick introduced 4 levels of measurement: reaction (wanting learners to feel that the training was valuable), learning (measuring what your learners have and haven’t learnt), behavioural changes (understanding how your learners applied their training), and results (analysing the final results of your training programme).
As training and development professionals, our focus is on filling training and knowledge gaps through employee training programmes. Whether delivered in a boardroom or online, training programmes need to maximise learning transfer from the job role to impacting the organisational goals. The key objective is, therefore, to prove the impact of your training programme on the organisation.
But how do we measure the success of a training programme considering the four levels above?
1. Make sure your KPIs align with your training goals
Business managers or team leaders typically request training once a problem has been identified that needs to be addressed in order to improve a specific metric or key performance indicator. For example, if a financial services provider observes an increased amount of non-compliance issues, the managers will analyse the reason(s) for the non-compliance and thereafter require training to address the issue and improve the specific KPI. Defining the KPI that a change in knowledge, skill, or attitude should influence, is the first measuring milestone. Your training goals should consequently highlight how they intend to impact the KPI.
2. Measurable objectives and outcomes
Defining learning objectives and outcomes is one of the most important steps in developing a corporate training programme. Well-defined learning objectives and outcomes empower both the trainers and the learners to know what will be taught and how to participate in the learning process, while the organisation will know exactly what to expect from the process.
3. Analysing training data
In addition to training, other factors such as performance bonus schemes to name but one can have a direct impact on the performance of the employee. It is therefore important to isolate the evaluation of the impact the training had on the employee’s performance. To do so, one or more of these isolation techniques can be employed: comparing the outcomes of your training programme with control groups versus pilot groups; comparing stakeholder and participant estimate outcomes to actual outcomes; and establishing trend lines.
A capable and effective training programme is born out of attention and effort. For the programme to propel an organisation forward, it is necessary to have a strong sight of direction, a thorough understanding of the context of the programme, its goals, impact and the tactics used to get there.