Evaluation involves the assessment of the effectiveness of the training programs. This assessment is done by collecting data on whether the participants were satisfied with the deliverables of the training program, whether they learned something from the training and are able to apply those skills at their workplace. There are different tools for assessment of a training program depending upon the kind of training conducted.
Since organizations spend a large amount of money, it is therefore important for them to understand the usefulness of the same. For example, if a certain technical training was conducted, the organization would be interested in knowing whether the new skills are being put to use at the workplace or in other words whether the effectiveness of the worker is enhanced. Similarly in case of behavioral training, the same would be evaluated on whether there is change in the behavior, attitude and learning ability of the participants.
Benefits of Training Evaluation
Evaluation acts as a check to ensure that the training is able to fill the competency gaps within the organization in a cost effective way. This is especially very important in wake of the fact the organizations are trying to cut costs and increase globally. Some of the benefits of the training evaluation are as under:
- Evaluation ensures accountability: Training evaluation ensures that training programs comply with the competency gaps and that the deliverables are not compromised upon.
- Check the Cost: Evaluation ensures that the training programs are effective in improving the work quality, employee behavior, attitude and development of new skills within the employee within a certain budget. Since globally companies are trying to cut their costs without compromising upon the quality, evaluation just aims at achieving the same with training.
- Feedback to the Trainer / Training: Evaluation also acts as a feedback to the trainer or the facilitator and the entire training process. Since evaluation accesses individuals at the level of their work, it gets easier to understand the loopholes of the training and the changes required in the training methodology.
Not many organizations believe in the process of evaluation or at least do not have an evaluation system in place. Many organizations conduct training programs year after year only as a matter of faith and not many have a firm evaluation mechanism in place. Organizations like IBM, Motorala only, it was found out, have a firm evaluation mechanism in place.
Methods of Training Evaluation
- Satisfaction and Participant reaction
Satisfaction evaluation is the most basic measure for assessing the success rate of any training. For the purpose, the trainer, usually, hands out a survey at the end of the course to test the reaction of the participants.
Most of the time, it covers common questions like whether the participants enjoyed the training or did they like the trainer. Moreover, would they want him or her back, in case any other training program is initiated or do they feel as if it was a loss of their time? Generally, the training evaluation ends here, since this method answers nearly all of the expectations, but still, if someone likes to dig deeper, then rest of the methods can also do the job.
- Knowledge Acquisition
Knowledge acquisition is the second level of the training evaluation and involves the examination as the attachment of the training course to check that how much the participants have learned from the training course. It is a fact that most of the participants take training seriously only if they know that they are required to demonstrate the concepts that they have learned during the training.
In this method, participants are supposed to take the exam, after the training. The instructors or the trainers check and grade the responses, and share the results with the students as well as the training managers. This is done so that any gaps in the expected and acquired knowledge can be quickly sewn up.
A reliable and valid examination, as the training ends, can help in determining if the participant has understood and learned the concept or not. It can point out the participants that did not gain anything from training, leaving even further room for the support those who did. Furthermore, it can highlight areas that might need additional coaching or further training.
- Behavioral Application
The third method of evaluation deals with the behavioral application of their newly acquired skills. It also involves monitoring the changing behaviors as the skills and knowledge are applied to the tasks. Even though the first method of training evaluation, satisfaction assessment, is sufficient in most of the cases, but whenever the method of behavioral application is needed, it is used with the combination of the first two.
This method demonstrates the level to which the participants apply their newly acquired knowledge in their real life and real world problems. This provides crystal clear evidence of who is applying the knowledge, where the knowledge is being applied and for what purposes. This can assist the management to avoid any misapplications.
For example, a company that initiates a course for increasing the telephone conversion rates can conduct a particular number of mystery calls before starting the training. This response can be recorded and graded in accordance with the objectives of the course. After the training, the same company can again conduct that particular number of mystery calls and can compare their results with those before the training and measure the effectiveness of the training.
- Measuring the Business Improvement
The primary objective of nearly all the organizations arranging the training courses is to generate a particular business improvement. So, it means that we can assess the success level of a training program by the improvement made in that particular field, once the training is complete and the participants are ready to apply their knowledge for the cause of development of the brand.
For example, if we use the above example of the course of increasing the telephone conversion rates, then it can be based on the goals like increasing the number of sales, decreasing the number of appointment cancellations, expanding the lead list, gaining higher conversion rates and decreasing the time lag.
- Return on Investment (ROI)
The final member of our list of training evaluation methods, is related to the measurement of return on investment. It deals with the training regarding costs and returns. Costs like those of the course fee, facility fee, staff management and their wages, time used for the training the participants and returns like the business improvement, increased number of conversions and financial gains, both short term and long term net gains.