Traditional training methods are not designed to capture change in behaviour or ‘on the job’ application. Once the training program is over, no manager can spend time and effort to monitor each and every participant to notice these changes.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Training Programs Objectively
Kirkpatrick’s/Philips model is the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when they think of evaluation of trainings. No other framework captures the different levels of evaluation as aptly as this model. But let us pause and ask ourselves a question – how many L&D teams in any organization evaluate a program at all five levels? The number is disappointingly low, but with a good reason. While the Reaction is captured through smiley sheets and learning through assessments, the next three levels are not considered because the effort spent to measure these may outweigh the benefits.
Traditional training methods are not designed to capture change in behavior or ‘on the job’ application. Once the training program is over, no manager can spend time and effort to monitor each and every participant to notice these changes. In order to capture behavioral change objectively we have to revamp our training programs. An experiential learning program anchored around custom simulations would not only effectively impart training but would also help us in objective evaluation. A business simulation would enable the participant to apply his learning and generate insightful analytics for the 3rd level of evaluation.
The next two levels have to be derived more carefully; however leveraging technology will make the task easier. This requires the use of a continuous learning platform that should be integrated with the performance metrics. If the systems are physically integrated then the evaluation would become easier. The continuous learning platform could record the learning of the participant in terms of time, frequency, number of interventions and other metrics. If we plot this learning curve and superimpose it with the change in performance graph, a simple correlation between the two graphs will give us the impact of the training program on business results. This is the 4th level of evaluation.
If the 4th level is cracked the 5th level is just a logical derivation. The correlation from the previous step multiplied by the total change in profit will give us a number that indicates the extent of business value created due to the training program. When divided by the investment in the program, this will give us the return on investment (ROI) – the 5th and ultimate level of evaluation. A simple formula can give us the numbers:
Thus, any program can be objectively evaluated and L&D team can confidently present to the business leaders the effectiveness of their programs. Such objective evaluation will also aid decision making. The key Experiential Learning components that will enable you to do this are:
2. Sufficient data points for analytics
3. Continuous Learning Platforms
4. Technology to process the data to derive insightful reports
So it is time for the L&D professionals to think out of the box.