Evaluation Training: The Assessment and Planning Part of eLearning

Get the Most Out of Your Training

Don’t worry, we’re not going to give you a pop quiz! In the realm of training, the word “evaluation” can mean a few different things. When we hear this word, most of us tend to think of a traditional, closed-book test administered by a teacher or other authority. Others may think of a sequence of events that tests our physical performance in an activity like driving a car or operating a piece of machinery.

In the e-Learning world, when we use the term “evaluation” we’re referring to either:

  • An assessment of knowledge, skills or attitudes brought into a training program, learned during, or applied after training. These proficiencies may be assessed using a variety of means before, during or after training. Or,
  • A comprehensive plan, developed during the needs assessment phase of training design, that outlines success factors and metrics to determine whether or not training was effective and served the intended purpose.

We’re going to focus on the latter point in today’s blog. After all, what’s the purpose of
designing and deploying training if it isn’t effective or isn’t aligned with your corporate objectives? You want the biggest bang for your training dollars, and Xpan wants to help you achieve that.

Needs Assessment

Again, we must mention the essential training needs assessment phase – this is where you determine your real training need, and your current and desired state of affairs. Evaluation seeks to answer whether or not the gap between your current and desired state of affairs has been adequately filled, or whether additional training or separate control measures are required. The information from your needs analysis ends up flowing directly into your evaluation phase.

Xpan’s Senior Instructional Designer, David Welichka, recommends that evaluation occur at multiple stages post-release of your training program. For example:

  • A one-month post-training evaluation to determine whether or not LMS data shows high rate of course abandonment, high requests for instructor assistance or technical support, or if certain exam questions are consistently being answered incorrectly by a majority of learners.
  • A six-month or one-year post-training evaluation to determine whether or not the organization’s business goals (identified in the needs assessment) are being reached. For example, are:
    • Sales or profits increased 15 percent,
    • Customer complaints decreased by 50 percent, and/or
    • Productivity rates increased by 20 percent.

Note that most of the values above are measurable, or quantitative. If we can’t measure it, is it fair to say that the training is working just because learners are completing the course? Are skills or behaviors on the job changing, or is the status quo simply being maintained?

Using Data

If we review the data and find that a course is being abandoned, that certain sections have high requests for support or clarification, or that certain exam questions are being answered incorrectly on a regular basis, we look at our instructional design and subject matter to rectify the problem and modify the course content or technical architecture.

If we review the data and find that business objectives are not being met, we look to our needs assessment, our learning objectives, our timeline for evaluation, and attempt to connect lines to any additional content or concepts required, any non-training reasons (i.e. ergonomics, compensation, complacency, procedures, leadership skills, etc.) that may be contributing to the less than satisfactory results.

Keepin’ it Fresh

It is important to note that over time, most training programs will require updating, both content-wise and technology-wise. While we always try to develop on the leading edge of technology, your processes, information, content or the links/resources in your training program should be revisited regularly to ensure they remain relevant. Don’t worry, we can help you keep your training investment fresh.

Featured Services

Want to know more about how our digital knowledge solutions can create a competitive advantage? See more about our services or talk with one of our experts today.

We develop digital knowledge solutions. Our team makes heroes of learning and development professionals. We improve workspace experience (and lives) across the globe, with better learning.