A vital piece of any training should be evaluating the effectiveness of your instruction. Knowing whether or not your students understood the material you presented is valuable information, and is relatively easy to gather using training evaluation surveys. Donald Kirkpatrick, past president of ASTD, suggests four levels of evaluation that should take place as part of each training:
1. Reaction - How Did You Feel?
Reaction measures how the students felt about the training on a surface level.
- Was the room comfortable?
- The presenter interesting?
- The material applicable?
The most common type of question used at the reaction level are rating scales. The feedback you receive will enable you to understand how your training was received by your audience and how to better plan for future training sessions. If a training session was not well received there are usually simple ways to fix it. For example, if your audience didn’t like the space or presentation style you can tweak those things next time.
2. Learning - Did you Meet Your Educational Objectives?
The second level goes a bit deeper to assess whether or not your learning objectives were met. You want to make sure your audience understood and benefitted from the information presented.
Ask open-ended questions such as:
- “How can you apply this information to your job?”
- “What did the presenter mean by...?”
It is helpful to design these questions when you are planning the content of your training and determining the desired objectives. Be creative in the ways you assess learning objectives! You could ask participants to answer a question before every break. You might want students to summarize the information each day before going home, or incorporate questions into a game. Evaluating learning objectives as the training progresses allows the presenter to immediately gauge the level of understanding and adjust accordingly.
3. Behavior - Has Your Training Impacted How You Act?
The behavior level of assessment goes deeper still and measures how your audience applies the information they have received over time. This can be assessed through follow-up interviews, observation or performance reviews. Keep in mind that in order for behavior to change, conditions must be favorable within the organization to support such change. If a manager or boss is not supportive of, or receptive to, change, then an employee may not feel comfortable or may not be allowed to apply what they have learned.
4. Results - Did Anything Change?
Finally, measure results. This is usually the most challenging level of assessment and the most far-reaching. Examples of outcomes at this level might include increased sales, higher employee retention, or reduced waste that resulted from employees participating in a specific training. Measuring results is a long-term commitment that can be beneficial but is not always practical for every type of training.
Assessment is Critical, Don't Overlook It!
Kirkpatrick’s four-part model may not work perfectly for your company, but at the very minimum reaction and learning should be assessed at every training. After all, if you spend time and money you want to ensure that it was effective! When you are intentional in evaluating your training, you will be able to see areas of improvement and incorporate them into your program.
Course Evaluations, Powered by Administrate
Did you know that Administrate has an evaluation component? No training administration system would be complete without it! In just one click you can generate an evaluation form (customized to your specifications) for every course you deliver. Easily print out and distribute these evaluations, then record your feedback within Administrate for future reference and actionable information. You can track how well your instructors are performing against each course they deliver!
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The 5th Level, ROI!
You've read about the 4 levels of training evaluation, but what if there were a 5th? We discuss the importance of understanding your training's return on investment as a 5th level within our post, 'The 5th Training Evaluation Level: ROI' and offer advice to Administrate customers on how they can use our Events and Reporting systems to easily calculate their ROI.
Not Using Administrate Yet? We’ve Got You Covered…
Not using the all-encompassing Training Management System, Administrate? Download our free Training ROI calculator. Once downloaded, simply enter the total number of events and students, your revenues and total costs and it’ll calculate your training ROI right there and then!