Evaluation involves the assessment of the effectiveness of the training programs. This assessment is done by collecting data on whether the participants were satisfied with the deliverables of the training program, whether they learned something from the training and are able to apply those skills at their workplace. There are different tools for assessment of a training program depending upon the kind of training conducted.
Since organisations spend a large amount of money, it is therefore important for them to understand the usefulness of the same. For example, if a certain technical training was conducted, the organisation would be interested in knowing whether the new skills are being put to use at the workplace or in other words whether the effectiveness of the worker is enhanced. Similarly in case of behavioural training, the same would be evaluated on whether there is change in the behaviour, attitude and learning ability of the participants.
Benefits of Training Evaluation
Evaluation acts as a check to ensure that the training is able to fill the competency gaps within the organisation in a cost effective way. This is specially very important in wake of the fact the organisations are trying to cut costs and increase globally. Some of the benefits of the training evaluation are as under:
Evaluation ensures accountability - Training evaluation ensures that training programs comply with the competency gaps and that the deliverables are not compromised upon.
Check the Cost - Evaluation ensures that the training programs are effective in improving the work quality, employee behaviour, attitude and development of new skills within the employee within a certain budget. Since globally companies are trying to cut their costs without compromising upon the quality, evaluation just aims at achieving the same with training.
Feedback to the Trainer / Training - Evaluation also acts as a feedback to the trainer or the facilitator and the entire training process. Since evaluation accesses individuals at the level of their work, it gets easier to understand the loopholes of the training and the changes required in the training methodology.
Not many organisations believe in the process of evaluation or at least do not have an evaluation system in place. Many organisations conduct training programs year after year only as a matter of faith and not many have a firm evaluation mechanism in place. Organisations like IBM, Motorala only, it was found out, have a firm evaluation mechanism in place.
The Way Forward
There are many methods and tools available for evaluating the effectiveness of training programs. Their usability depends on the kind of training program that is under evaluation. Generally most of the organisations use the Kirk Patrick model for training evaluations which evaluates training at four levels - reactions, learning, behaviour and results.
After it was found out that training costs organisations a lot of money and no evaluation measures the return on investment for training, the fifth level for training evaluation was added to the training evaluation model by Kirk Patrick which is called as the ROI.
Most of the evaluations contain themselves to the reaction data, only few collected the learning data, still lesser measured and analysed the change in behaviour and very few took it to the level of increase in business results. The evaluation tools including the Kirk Patrick model will be discussed in detail in other articles.