3 Powerful Ways To Evaluate Your Training
Before diving into how to evaluate, you need to understand what to evaluate. Most businesses care about 3 things: (1) how much employees learn, referred to as learning retention; (2) how much learning gets applied, referred to as behavior change; and most of all (3) how results are affected, referred to as a program's ROI. Keeping this in mind, here are 3 methods you can use to evaluate these metrics.
METHOD 1: Pre-Test and Post-Test
Pre-test/post-test involves collecting data before and after the training has happened. The goal of running a pre-test and post-test analysis is to measure the gain made from before the training to after the training.
Strengths: Pre-test/post-test is a great method for increasing internal validity of results. Because this method draws data from the same group, data won't be as skewed as it would be if data were collected and compared between two different groups.
Weaknesses: The results from this method can vary, depending on when you collect post-test data. Research has shown that if you collect data immediately after the training, your results will be different than if you collect data a week or a month afterwards (see studies on the forgetting curve). There is also an argument that if participants are able to see what they are going to be tested on before the training, it biases them to look for the answers during the training.
METHOD 2: Pilot-Test and Comparison Group
This method consists of running two groups at the same time in two different conditions. The pilot group receives the condition that you are testing (ex: a new training program). A comparison group receives the condition that is the "norm" (ex: an older training program). The point of this data collection is to identify the differences between the conditions.
Strengths: This method can give excellent comparative data. For example, you might find evidence that a new training program works more effectively than an older training program.
Weaknesses: There can be individual differences between the pilot group and the comparison group that can skew data. For example, if the comparison group has more experienced employees than the pilot group, that factor will affect your data.
METHOD 3: Process, Impact, and Outcome
Process, Impact, and Outcome evaluation is a common method in health-promotion programs. This method relies on data collection of 3 critical components: the process, the direct impact, and the outcome. Process evaluation focuses on how training is delivered, assessing how it can be improved. Impact focuses on evaluating how much gain happens right after the training is completed. Outcome evaluation focuses on evaluating how much gain has been retained after several months.
Strengths: This method utilizes a comprehensive approach to improving training while it's commencing. It also quantifies how much is gained by training and how much gets lost over time. This is an incredible approach to training improvement and ROI measurement because it collects data over a longer timeline.
Weaknesses: This method does not provide a comparison to other training methods. You may find "great" results, but you will not know how it compares to other programs without doing an additional comparative study.
How You Can Train on What Works
A strong program evaluation will give any company perspective on which practices are working and which aren't. This is essential in our competitive day and age. If you haven't yet evaluated your training program, try one of the methods above. If you feel like your training efforts aren't yielding results, visit www.teambitesize.com. Our methodology not only produces learning retention, but real change.