How Can We Determine the Success of Training Programs?
Jun 21, 2013 Teacher Training 1859 Views
When attempting to determine the effectiveness of any training program or training course, it is customary to embark on an evaluation process. This evaluation process often starts during the event or program itself, where delegates or students themselves are forming opinions on the effectiveness of the training facilitator, instructor and the general surroundings. At the end of the training course, delegates are often asked to fill in an evaluation sheet, that we often term the 'happy sheet'. Are happy sheets effective? The paper evaluation handwritten by a delegate at the end of an event is really only an indicator, from it you can sometimes gauge the general mood of the individual, but it is well known that many individuals rush the questionnaire as their main aim is head for home.
So why do we need to evaluate the training?
A company is always looking to improve productivity of its staff and ultimately performance and value for money. If training is not evaluated properly then it will not be known whether the event was effective. Good companies invest in training of their staff, but during hard times the training budget is often the first budget under threat, unless it can be proved that the training can indeed bring benefits to the company or organisation. The actual methods of training can be evaluated for their effectiveness and if properly documented this can form the basis for selection of the correct training method in the future. If the training course is an internal offering then effective evaluation can aid in the modification of an existing course, or can be used to actually for part of the design process for future training courses.
So how can we measure the effectiveness of a learning event?
If the training is an external course and therefore internal validation of the package is required the proof of the pudding could be how popular the course becomes. If it is running regularly with enough delegates then something must be right. This leads on to costs for the program. For training organisations salaries of trainers and the costs of hiring rooms and equipment will have to be factored in, as will any design fees and other expenses such as travel and accommodation.
Feedback from businesses or organisations on how the training has benefited their organisation can be a pointer on whether or not some changes need to be made. A lot of training providers forget to follow up and often don't receive any such feedback.
As a provider, or as an organisation receiving training, are you getting a return on your investment? You need to weigh up the benefits and offset this against the costs, which doesn't seem difficult but an organisation may not get immediate benefits from training, and even if they do there are always additional benefits that continue to materialise sometimes months or years after the training event took place. You need to look at the time it takes until payback has been achieved. If the payback period is short then an organisation will be more eager to sign up to more training when it is deemed necessary. On the other hand if payback time is over a longer period then the benefits might not be immediately apparent to management.
So, if you embark on a study to try and determine the success or effectiveness of training, a number of points need to be covered:
Evaluation at the point of delivery (happy sheets)
Evaluation by line managers after the event
Training providers should request feedback from client organisations
Return on investment, was the training cost effective?
How long is it till payback?