The proverbial saying “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to catch a fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”, demonstrates training leads to productivity. Another important question to consider is “did the man want to learn how to fish?” Training alone does not ensure that your work force has gained the knowledge and skills intended. Therefore, evaluation is the key in not only planning the design of a course, it is the tool to ensure the objectives have been met and course correct as needed.
Below are definitions of the Kirkpatrick model and how they translate to the evaluation of course objectives.
Level 1: Reaction (Employee satisfaction survey)
Assess the level of satisfaction the employees experienced by taking this training. Did they learn what they needed to know to improve performance? And did the learning enhance their level of commitment towards the job and the team they work for? Do they have feedback that will tell us what we should do to improve the experience and the takeaway for those that follow?
Examples of employee satisfaction survey questions:
- Do you feel the training was worth your time?
- Do you feel that it was successful in providing you with the knowledge and skills you need to perform your work?
- What are the training’s biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Did you enjoy the training?
- Is there anything you would like to see added or changed to better communicate the lessons learned?
- Did the course accommodate your learning style?
It is important to act on the information provided. Action on feedback not only enhances future training but demonstrates the feedback is valuable and leads to positive change. For lasting change, consistent communication is key. Checking in periodically will support this evolving culture and the level of commitment of employees.
Level 2: Learning (Pre and Post assessments)
Assess the learners knowledge prior to the training and again upon completion. Did the learner acquire the knowledge and skills through this training for application in their work? Do they now have the added tools in their tool box to achieve the desired outcomes intended by implementation of this training? These assessments tell you if the course objectives were well defined and executed through this training.
Level 3: Behaviors (Monitored progress)
Have the employees applied the knowledge and skills learned in this training to their job? Did the on-the-job behaviors change as a result of this training and does the employee have the support to make these behavioral changes? If behavior has not changed find out why. Is this a will vs skill issue or is there an issue with the manager not following through to insure these skills are mastered and applied?
Level 4: Results (Measurable Outcomes –Key Performance Indicators (KPI))
Were the company objectives realized and the outcomes visible? This is a high level view of the impact training had on the workforce.
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Increased employee retention
- Increased employee productivity
- Higher employee morale
- Increased sales
Level 5: Return on Investment (ROI)
Was the training worth the time and cost? Every e-Learning project should begin by evaluating the organizational objectives and attempting to quantify the financial benefit to the organization once those objectives are achieved. Training developers should then endeavor to measure the degree to which the investment in training has positively impacted the organization’s bottom line. This historically has proven to be a challenging task, but at least attempting to engage in this process is better than ignoring it all together and simply hoping for the best.