How To Measure Training Effectiveness In Five Simple Steps

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 September 2022

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Learning and development (L&D) are a part of an organisation's planned learning activities to improve the overall performance, competence and motivation of employees and to meet the organisational needs. By measuring training effectiveness, an organisation can better gauge their return on investment (ROI). Knowing how to measure training effectiveness can help you determine how well the employees are adapting to the training and determine how beneficial it is to them. In this article, we discuss how to measure training effectiveness along with different methods to measure it and explain the importance of doing so for an organisation.

How To Measure Training Effectiveness

Learning how to measure training effectiveness can help you make strategic decisions regarding the training in the future. Here is a simple step-by-step process you may follow to measure the effectiveness of your training programme accurately:

1. Define key performance indicators

Also known as KPIs, these are metrics that assess the result of strategic decisions. When you set KPIs, you give employees a goal that they may work towards. This further helps superiors evaluate the progress made during the specified period. If you decide on the KPIs before implementing the training programme, you are likely to notice tangible results. The KPIs you set typically require to be in alignment with the organisation's goals or at least departmental goals.

2. Pick the correct assessment method

Choosing the correct method of assessing a training's effectiveness is crucial in getting insightful data. Organisations generally give the assessment before and after the training. The first is to indicate a baseline and the second is to compare post-training results with the initial baseline. You can perform these assessments through different methods but some of the common ones include interviews, checklists, questionnaires and reviews from peers and superiors.

3. Track employee performance

Post-training evaluations are essential for continual improvement of the training process and employee performance. If the employee performs better after training, it means they have retained what they learned. You can ideally gather the insights a few weeks after training to understand if the employee is demonstrating the skills they learned. You can record this by having them use the skills they learned during training. If their approach to the task improves and shows a better outcome, you can consider the training to be successful.

Related: 10 Human Performance Tools You Can Use In The Workplace

4. Observe continued learning

The best training programmes are ones that do more than simply teach employees new skills. It is important to observe them after they have been trained to understand if they are independently working towards improving learned competencies. Post-training observation is a key aspect of training effectiveness because it can help you discover if the training programme itself lacked in certain areas or if there were elements that may be continued in future programmes. By identifying training issues and finding resources for overcoming them, you can help ensure the employees are able to benefit the most from their training.

Related: How To Motivate Employees: 18 Steps For Workplace Success

5. Share feedback

Speaking with current employees and asking them to give feedback on the training they have received is a great way to help managers understand how well employees are learning. Ask open-ended questions and allow them to answer in writing, which can facilitate responses that are expansive and more likely actionable. You can then apply their feedback to improve the training programme.

Related: A Step By Step Guide On How To Give Feedback (With Examples)

What Is Training Effectiveness?

Training effectiveness is the measurement of knowledge gained by employees during the course of training. In a training and development programme, employees are educated on subjects in their domain. During this course, trainers aim to improve existing skill sets or teach new ones to keep the employees updated on current developments. HR personnel or team leaders usually conduct these sessions when they notice gaps in certain competencies of the employees. These agendas typically align with the organisation's overarching goals so that the employee can cope with the demands of the role.

To consider a training programme effective, here are the criteria they may meet. Here are the three most significant ones:

  • Employees can apply the knowledge they gain through the training to their roles.

  • There is an improvement in work performance after the completion of the training.

  • There is a noticeable increase in the company's ROI.

Related: What Is Training And Development? (With Benefits And Steps)

Methods To Measure Training Effectiveness

There are a few common methods organisations use to measure training effectiveness. These include:

Kirkpatrick's four-level training evaluation

This is a globally recognised model that assesses a training programme based on four levels. These include:

  • Reaction: In this level, you evaluate a participant's response. The analysis is based on the participant's perception of the programme objectives, course materials, the relevance of content and knowledge of the facilitator.

  • Learning: Generally assessed via interviews or reviews, this level of evaluation looks at the information participants have retained.

  • Behaviour: This level assesses a participant's behavioural changes after the completion of the training to gauge the effectiveness of the training.

  • Results: This is the final level of evaluation that measures training effectiveness based on whether the training achieved its goal. You may measure this by conducting interviews or focus groups.

Related: What Is The Kirkpatrick Model? (And How To Use It)

Kaufman's 5 levels of evaluation

This evaluation method aims to get information on the trainee's perspective on a training programme. The five levels include input and process, acquisition, application, organisational payoffs and societal outcomes. This method adds a fifth level to Kirkpatrick's model that looks into the programme's benefits for society and the organisation alike.

Anderson model of learning evaluation

This is a three-stage training evaluation method that aims to assess effectiveness at an organisational level rather than at an individual level. In the first stage, you assess if the company's training aligns with its strategic priorities. In the next step, you evaluate the training's effectiveness concerning strategic goals. Finally, based on the four factors, namely, ROI, return on evaluation, performance relative to competitors and program efficiency, you understand which approach is suited to your company's overarching goals.

Related: 11 eLearning Tools To Assist With Workplace Training

Phillips ROI

The Phillips ROI model is comparable to Kirkpatrick's but comes with a few modifications. The first two levels are similar to Kirkpatrick's model. Yet, on the third level, Phillips's method examines if the employees are using their training along with how they are doing it. This extra step in Phillips's ROI model helps to identify other factors that could potentially be obstructing an employee's progress. On the fourth level, Phillips ROI extends the idea to verify the outcome and also examine the related factors that might be responsible for them.

In the final level, Philips ROI analyses the return on investment. It involves a cost-benefit analysis to estimate the value of training. By factoring in the benefits and the expenditure, organisations can get an accurate understanding of the value of training. This level can be particularly helpful for decision-makers when it comes to justifying the costs of training programmes.

Related: On-The-Job Training For Efficient Staff Development

Importance Of Measuring Training Effectiveness

Measuring the effectiveness of a training programme is vital for a company for several reasons. These include:

Understanding return on investment

Improper training may result in underperforming employees and lower profits for the business. Organisations that measure their training programme effectiveness can better determine the return on investment. HR personnel may do this through surveys, focus groups and other techniques. Based on the insights, organisations can budget for future training programmes better.

Related: 9 Different Methods Of Training For Employees With Benefits

Gauging performance improvement

When organisations assess the effectiveness of their training programmes, they are able to ensure that their employees are improving in their performance. With proper insights, HR teams and supervisors may be able to see the progress of the employees in the organisation and also assess competencies that they can work on further.

When you evaluate the effectiveness of the training, you can better assess whether the performance improvements are due to the training itself or due to extraneous factors such as a new employee performing well, a better manager who is boosting team morale or a spike in an employee's performance due to an upcoming vacation.

Related: 10 Tips For Working Effectively And Improving Productivity

Retaining good employees

Employee turnover can often increase the costs of hiring and training, decrease appropriate skill levels in the workforce and decrease productivity. To retain good employees and reduce turnover, it is important to measure training effectiveness. If you have a system in place to measure training effectiveness, you can use the results to improve your approach to training, so the employees have the skills they require to perform their jobs effectively.

Related: What Are Key HR Metrics? (With 14 Useful Examples)

Recognising areas that require improvement

To effectively analyse training effectiveness and evaluate training design, it is crucial to assess the area of trainee competence and capacity. Evaluating training effectiveness happens through the measurement of these trainee competencies. When designing new training programmes, it is important to consider what trainee competencies you can target.

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