A company’s investment in employee training programs is intended to improve employee performance and productivity, and therefore the business.
However, how can we be sure of the success of our training efforts? How can we know if the employees really learn? Will they apply this knowledge in their jobs? And more importantly, was it worth the time and money invested?
Knowing how to measure training effectiveness is key to find out if our corporate courses are delivering good results.
How can we define training effectiveness?
When we talk about training effectiveness, we refer to the degree to which learning improved employee performance. That is, the impact the training has had on their knowledge and skills, but also on the company’s return on investment.
Therefore, the evaluation of training effectiveness determines how useful the solutions we have delivered to employees are and how they can be improved in the future.
Benefits of corporate training evaluations
This evaluation determines whether the training is meeting its goals and objectives. But beyond that, there are many reasons why organizations should consider measure training effectiveness, such as:
#1 Find out if it is beneficial your employees
In terms of acquiring or improving knowledge and skills that will enhance their performance within the company. This is one of the main reasons for conducting an evaluation of internal training courses, as it provides a clear idea of what they have achieved and what the next step is.
#2 Review the effect on the company’s business goals and to determine ROI
Companies invest a lot of time and money in training programs for their employees, and logically expect to receive a return on investment. That is, after an efficient program, it is logical to start noticing changes in the organization’s productivity and profits.
Once the results of this evaluation are obtained, the company will be able to compare the cost of training with the results obtained through it, to know how profitable these courses are, as well as which ones are worth continuing to invest in and which ones are not.
#3 Find potential problems in the training program and correct them
If the training does not produce a positive result in the company’s performance, it is necessary to determine why, or where the error lies to make the appropriate adjustments.
For example, if through an evaluation it has been determined that most of the employees failed in terms of data privacy, reviewing that course might reveal to you that there are some gaps in addressing the topic.
In this case, the evaluation presents an opportunity to add a data privacy module or enhance the existing one so that employees can understand and pass it.
#4 Improve learning materials and tools
Did you notice that most employees dropped out of your courses? Perhaps the tools provided are not sufficiently engaging. Without an evaluation, it will be impossible to determine the effectiveness of the tools and content selected, so it will be a wasted investment.
The results of an evaluation allow you to see the strengths and weaknesses of your training program, modify and improve them, and make your courses engaging and motivating.
What are training metrics and what are the most common ones?
Now, to evaluate training, it is necessary to have a quantifiable measure to track the results obtained, and that is precisely what metrics are: ways to measure training
Training metrics can provide you with the necessary information to know how well the training is working and thus be able to make changes or improvements, if necessary. There are many effectiveness evaluation metrics, but the most common are:
- Pass and fail rates, which are applied in questionnaires and tests.
- Experience satisfaction, which identifies how employees perceive the training and their experience.
- Scoring, which helps to estimate trainees’ performance and thus, adjust the level of difficulty and the need for reinforcement.
- Completion rate, which shows how many trainees completed the training.
- Dropout rate, which shows how many people left the training due to potential problems with the content, browser or device compatibility, or simple lack of motivation.
- Post-training performance, which shows how effective the training was and how it helped improve employee performance.
Training evaluation techniques: examples
To evaluate your training program, there are different methods or techniques that you could use. We will now look at two of them:
#1 Kirkpatrick’s four levels
With more than sixty years since its creation, this four-level model is one of the most widely used:
- Level 1: Reaction
The first level measures the feedback from attendees regarding the relevance or usefulness of the training. To obtain this data you can use surveys or questionnaires after the course, answering questions such as:
-How satisfied are you with the experience?
-Did you learn anything new?
-Did the content meet your expectations?
For more detailed results, you can create surveys with the Likert scale, which are those that allow users to choose between several options such as agree, disagree, and uncertain, among others.
- Level 2: Learning
This level measures the knowledge and skills acquired by those attending the training. For this, you can use tests or questionnaires, which you can apply before the training (to know the level of knowledge of your employees before the course) or after it.
- Level 3: Behavior
This level measures how the training has impacted attendees’ performance. For this, many companies use 360-degree reviews, i.e., feedback from peers, supervisors, and other team members.
But you can also use methods such as self-assessment questionnaires, observation, focus groups, informal peer feedback, and, above all, key performance indicators of job performance.
- Level 4: Results
And the most important level of evaluation is the outcome level, which assesses the impact the training has had on the business or company. For this you can analyze quality and customer satisfaction ratings, as well as reduced costs, improved project completion times, employee retention, and increased sales, if applicable.
#2 Phillips’ ROI model
Although it is very similar to Kirkpatrick’s model in its four levels, this one is differentiated by a fifth addition which is the return on investment or ROI. This additional level would answer the question: Did the value received from the training exceed the cost?
ROI is measured by collecting business data before, during and after the training, and measuring the impact the training had on the organization’s profits, productivity, and performance. These results are then compared to the cost of the training program.
How to evaluate corporate training programs
To evaluate and measure the effectiveness of training programs, it is necessary to choose a method (which may be one of the above) that will help you determine whether the training is meeting the organization’s objectives.
But you will also need evaluation tools when choosing ways to measure training, which are nothing more than the means used to conduct the evaluation of the programs. The most important of these are:
A widely used evaluation method consisting of a set of questions from which useful information is obtained from training attendees.
Questionnaires can be used to measure the reaction of course attendees to the course and their level of satisfaction. And some of their benefits are the ease of data collection, their cost-effectiveness in terms of money and time, and their ability to cover large groups of participants.
This tool also collects data and information, but unlike questionnaires, an interview usually reveals information about the mindset, behavior, and attitude of employees. They can be conducted in person or online and over the phone and allow the interviewer to gain insight into the employee’s perspective and make clarifications.
This is the most traditional way to observe changes in employee behavior and attitude after training. The significant difference between observation and the two previous tools is that the results do not depend on the employees’ opinions, but on their performance in applying the new knowledge and skills acquired during the training.
Finally, a learning management system or LMS could be a tool that is as useful as it is comprehensive. It is software that allows the creation of online training programs, while collecting and analyzing data throughout the process.
An LMS can help you discover the weaknesses of your courses, as it allows you to look at the dropout or completion rate, provides objective feedback, and measures the impact by person, department, geographic area, or the entire company.
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