A New Year – A Better Way of Evaluating the Impact of Our Training Programs

Happy 2018! The beginning of a new year offers us the opportunity to begin anew by examining the past and making plans for changes in the days, weeks and months to come.  What a gift for us as individuals and organizations.

In November of 2017, I completed an extensive three-day training course by the Kirkpatrick Partners on the 4 Levels of Training Evaluation. For many years, the Kirkpatrick family (Father, Son and Daughter) have been challenging the training world to “go deeper” in our evaluation processes, and in-turn to reap the rewards of training as a process, versus training as an event…a one day or hour and done experience.

In their book The Four Levels of Training Evaluation, they detail the four levels of evaluation as:

Level One: Reaction (Did they like the training/trainer/room/food)

Level Two: Learning (What did they learn? Were the training materials relevant/useful?

Level Three: Behavior (Applying what they learned)

Level Four: Results (How did the behavior change affect the business)

Most training programs evaluate their results at Level One and Level Two, partially because those levels are the easiest to measure, and because many organizations see training as an “event”, and not as a process that will go on months after the training day.

The problem with not “digging deeper” as the Kirkpatrick’s encourage us to do, is that we truly do not know that impact of our training dollars, time and resources. We can feel proud that “x” amount of people attended our training and that they had a good experience. We can also point to pre and post test results and surveys to measure what they attendees learned.

But, so what? Did they apply what the learned? Did their behavior change? Did the behavior change lead to the desired results? (Goals achieved…etc?)

In a program that I co-presented with Terry McQuown from the King County Public Library at ALA and the Washington Library Association Conference in 2017 titled “Making Training Stick for Supervisors”, we discussed the impact that the supervisor can have in application of the information learned, and taking our training evaluation to Level 3 and beyond. I recommend that you listen to the webinar that Terry and I recently presented for Infopeople to learn more:
Here is the link to the webinar

As you get ready to launch your next training program, I hope you will give the planning of the evaluation of your training as much time and thought as you give to the training itself.

Find ways to change your organizational thinking about what training is and isn’t. Training should not be a one and done event…instead, it should be viewed as a process. And training is definitely NOT about Level 1 (Reaction) and Level 2 (Learning) results. How will you evaluate your training based on Application and Behavior Change? How will you measure what is really important, and not what just looks good and is easy to measure?

If you have any questions about the Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels Model, please email me at Andrew@peopleconnectinstitute.com. I’m happy to share the knowledge I have learned and am continuing to learn as I consult with libraries and other organizations on getting more bang for our training dollars. And do use the link above for our archived webinar. You just might find yourself thinking about training evaluation in a new way — for the new year.

Note: Be sure to join Andrew’s upcoming webinar “Effective Workplace Communication Skills for New(er) Supervisors and Managers” on February 2nd at 10:00 Central Time. For more information and to register, follow this link…

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