Evaluating the Effectiveness of Training
When organization has invested in some training, how do we know if it has a success? Our gut feeling might be that skills and practice have improved. But in what ways and by how much has it improved, and did organization get value of money? Answer of these questions can be given by doing evaluation.
The evaluation of training forms the remaining part of the training cycle which starts with the identification of training needs, establishing objectives and continues through to the design and delivery of the training course itself.
It is the function of evaluation to assess whether the learning objectives originally identified have been satisfied and any deficiency rectified. Evaluation is the analysis and comparison of actual progress versus prior plans, oriented toward improving plans for future implementation. It is part of a continuing management process consisting of planning, implementation and evaluation; ideally with each following the other in a continuous cycle until successful completion of the activity. Evaluation process must start before training has begun and continue throughout the whole learning process.
Functions of evaluation: There are basically two functions of evaluation
â€¢ Qualitative evaluations is an assessment process how well did we do?
â€¢ Quantitative evaluation is an assessment process that answers the question How much did we do?
Principles of Training Evaluation:
â€¢ Training need should be identified and reviewed concurrently with the business and personal development plan process.
â€¢ There should be correlation to the needs of the business and the individual.
â€¢ Organisational, group and individual level training need should be identified and evaluated.
â€¢ Techniques of evaluation should be appropriate.
â€¢ The evaluation function should be in place before the training takes place.
â€¢ The outcome of evaluation should be used to inform the business and training process.
Why Evaluation of Training:
Training cost can be significant in any business. Most organizations are prepared to incur these cost because they expect that their business to benefit from employees development and progress. Whether business has benefited can be assessed by evaluation training.
There are basically four parties involved in evaluating the result of any training. Trainer, Trainee, Training and Development department and Line Manager.
â€¢ The Trainee wants to confirm that the course has met personal expectations and satisfied any learning objectives set by the T & D department at the beginning of the programme.
â€¢ The Trainer concern is to ensure that the training that has been provided is effective or not.
â€¢ Training and Development want to know whether the course has made the best use of the resources available.
â€¢ The Line manager will be seeking reassurance that the time hat trainee has spent in attending training results in to value and how deficiency in knowledge and skill redressed.
The problem for many organizations is not so much why training should be evaluated but how. Most of the organizations overlook evaluation because financial benefits are difficult to describe in concrete terms.
Improve business performance through training:
The business environment is constantly changing, therefore the knowledge and skills require for developments will also change. To compete with others, organization requires training strategy which, where organization business wants to be and identifies the training require getting there.
Regular evaluations of completed training help in identify skill gaps in workforce and take pro active steps to avoid the problem.
Organisation training strategy integrated with business planning and employee development. The process of evaluation is central to its effectiveness and helps to ensure that:
â€¢ Whether training budget is well spent
â€¢ To judge the performance of employee as individual and team.
â€¢ To establish culture of continuous learning and improvement.
What to Evaluate:
Donald Kirkpatrick developed four level models to assess training effectiveness. According to him evaluation always begins with level first and should move through other levels in sequence.
â€¢ Reaction Level: The purpose is to measure the individualâ€™s reaction to the training activity. The benefit of Reaction level evaluation is to improve Training and Development activity efficiency and effectiveness.
â€¢ Learning Level: The basic purpose is to measure the learning transfer achieved by the training and development activity. Another purpose is to determine to what extent the individual increased their knowledge, skills and changed their attitudes by applying quantitative or qualitative assessment methods.
â€¢ Behaviour Level: The basic purpose is to measure changes in behavior of the individual as a result of the training an development activity and how well the enhancement of knowledge, skill, attitudes has prepared than for their role.
â€¢ Result Level: The purpose is to measure the contribution of training and development to the achievement of the business/operational goals.
When to Evaluate (Process of evaluation)
There are three possible opportunities to undertake an evaluation:
â€¢ Pre Training Evaluation: is a method of judging the worth of a programme before the progrmame activities begin. The objective of this evaluation is (a) To determine the appropriateness of the context of training activity and (b) To help in defining relevant training objectives.
â€¢ Context and Input Evaluation: is a method of judging the worth of a pogramme while the programme activities are happening. The objectives of this evaluation are (a) To assess a training course or workshop as it progress (b) To find out the extent of programme implementation and (c) To determine improvement and adjustments needed to attain the training objectives.
â€¢ Post Training Evaluation: is method of judging the worth of a programme at the end of the programme activities. The focus is on the outcome. It tries to judge whether the transfer of training to the job taken place or not.
Dr.D.G.Thakore, Reader, Department of Human Resource Development, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Surat.
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