Training Evaluation and Measurement Methods


Training evaluation methods differ by what you intend to measure. There are forms and devices available to determine exactly how trainees liked the training course. Evaluators can use forms and other tools to determine how well participants liked the training and how much they learned. You can also discover if your training program offered good return on your investment in the course. Your first step is to determine exactly what you want to measure.

Course Feedback Instruments

  • The most common type of evaluation for training programs is the participant feedback questionnaire. Given immediately after training, this evaluation measures participants' reaction to the program they just completed. These "smile" sheets provide feedback on the course, materials, instructor ability, room environment and other issues related to the training program. This type of evaluation is often referred to as "smile," because many of these forms return good reviews, especially if an experienced instructor conducted the program.

Learning Measurement

  • A learning measurement evaluation determines specifically how much information a trainee retained during the class. Most of us are familiar with these measures since we took these tests during our high school years. Measure learning by multiple choice, fill in the blanks questions, or other methods to determine if learning took place in the classroom. Measuring learning is useful to establish how much information was retained by the participants and to document that students learned during training.

Transfer of Learning Measurements

  • Transfer evaluations measure if the student can use the information taught in the training back on the job. Interviews with trainees, questionnaires and direct observation are three methods used to determine if your employee is using her new skills at work. Reviewing outputs from the job is also a good technique to use. It is also very important that your employees' skill levels are evaluated before training begins. You can then compare these measurements to what you observe and verify that the training is being used.

Results Evaluation

  • Perhaps the most important evaluation of training is the results measurement. It is also one of the most difficult evaluations to conduct. Results evaluations attempt to determine if the training program made a difference for your organization. Look at sales results to determine if they increased. Review customer service scores and search for increases. The key to a successful results evaluation is to have solid and specific evidence to work with. It is also important to filter out other, non training explanations, for the results you are evaluating.

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  • "Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels"; Donald L. Kirkpatrick and James D.Kirkpatrcik; 2006
  • "The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species"; Malcolm Knowles; 1984
  • "Designing Training and Development Systems"; William R.Tracey; 1984
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