How to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Training

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Understanding training effectiveness helps companies develop the most relevant training.
Understanding training effectiveness helps companies develop the most relevant training. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Training employees is time consuming and costly. When preparing for training, develop tactics to ensure effectiveness throughout the training session. According to Learning and Training: Statistics Myths, in 2010 U.S. companies spent $52.8 billion on training, and invested an average of 40.1 training hours per employee. With so much invested in the process, it is vital that companies understand the impact that training has on actual work performance and develop evaluation tools to measure its effectiveness.

Develop a training objective for each participant. After the introduction of the training, ask participants to state what learning objective they have for the training. Document the objectives on a flip chart and place it on the wall in the training room. At the end of the training go back to participants and have them state how the training met their objective, what they learned and how they can apply what they learned to their jobs.

Ask each participant to create one or two action plans that relates to the training. Have them document a time frame for completion and what support they may need in completing the action plan. Have the participants choose a partner from the training class; they will set a follow-up date and discuss the outcome of their action plan and what tools they used from the training to accomplish the action plan. Have each group report back to the training facilitator on the effectiveness of the training once the action plans are completed. With this information, the facilitator can modify sections of the training if feedback is consistent.

Ask questions throughout the training session. Checking for understanding after each section helps the facilitator to understand both facilitation and content effectiveness. If there is a lack of understanding on a specific topic, the facilitator will need to make a decision on how to handle it. Often training sessions leave little time for added activities; a good approach would be to schedule additional training time later to solidify learning.

Administer quizzes or incorporate problems to solve throughout the training to check for understanding. After the participants are given time to compete quizzes or problems, go through all the answers and explain the reasoning for the correct answer.

Develop a training evaluation form. Detail each section of the training and ask for feedback on such areas as facilitator effectiveness, training material effectiveness and ease of understanding the material. Go through each evaluation to determine areas of the training that need improvement.

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