How much time do you spend leading up to your training workshops preparing for them?
Hopefully, you have fast-tracked your training with our white-label materials to save hundreds of hours of time by not writing your training content from scratch. You have prepared, practiced, and delivered your training. You are probably feeling pretty happy with how it went.
But how do we quantify the success of our training? What does it mean to implement successful corporate training? Knowing how to analyze and evaluate your training workshops ensures you can be strategic with how you implement corporate training in the future.
Ways to Measure Results from Training
There are various different ways to measure the effectiveness of your training. These include:
- Quizzes and tests – Testing helps identify gaps in knowledge which allows you to clarify what needs to be reviewed and covered in more detail for future workshops.
- Self-analysis or supervisor analysis – Evaluation from different perspectives can show you the multifaceted impact training can have from an internal and external perspective.
- Metrics tracking – Numbers are a clear-cut way to find a correlation between your training and how it is contributing to your bottom line.
- Workplace observation – A more qualitative way to measure training results, observing shifts in the workplace post-training in regards to productivity and workplace morale is highly valuable to track.
Remember, post-workshop evaluations should be:
- Easy to complete
- Not time consuming
- As objective as possible
Quantitative vs. Qualitative Results
Although we all know that training can have many amazing benefits, sometimes it can be hard to prove those benefits and attach a dollar value to training. Some topics, like sales training or time management, might have direct, tangible benefits. Other topics, like communication or leadership, might have benefits that you can’t put a dollar value on. Fortunately, there are various different ways to evaluate training progress to demonstrate its effectiveness.
Training is a significant investment going into your organization. Because of this, it is important to analyze the payback from it. In some cases, this may be easy – you may be able to see a drop in hard numbers (like product defects, customer complaints, or days absent) as a result of your training. In other cases, the benefit might involve something much harder to calculate, like reduced stress, improved teamwork, or better communication.
Tangible benefits are those with a number attached to them. Some examples include:
- Rate of absenteeism or turnover
- Number or dollar value of returns
- Number or percentage of customer complaints
- Length of downtime (due to accidents, machine failure, etc.)
- Production volume
- Error or defect rate
- Customer and/or employee satisfaction
- Response time
When gathering these metrics, make sure to gather information for a few months before and a few months after the time period that you are measuring, as well as data for the same time period in years previous. You will also want to be aware of external factors that could affect your data, such economic conditions and changes in the company.
Training often provides more intangible benefits, such as better communication, improved anger and stress management, clearer writing skills, or more effective time management. It can be hard to put dollars and cents value on these skills; however, we are often asked to do so to prove that the training has been worthwhile.
Here are some ways to convert intangible benefits to hard numbers:
- Calculate the time saved in hours and multiply by the person’s hourly wage
- Tie the intangible benefit to a tangible benefit
Our next step is to determine the cost of the program. This should include:
- Employee salaries paid while they were attending the program
- Trainee expenses such as food, hotel, and transportation
- Cost of materials and facility for the program
- Facilitator cost before, during, and after the program
- Development and licensing costs
- Administrative costs
Considerations for Measuring Results Before and During Training
Considerations for measuring results from training are commonly associated with actions taken after training. But have you ever taken into account what actions you can take during and even before you start your training to help you effectively measure its results?
Evaluations For Before Training
Before the workshop, it can be a good idea to give participants the learning objectives and ask them how they would rate their level of knowledge with those objectives. You can even ask participants to note where they would like to be in a week, a month, and a year. It is important that participants be given a rating scale so that results are measurable.
Another useful tool is to design a pre-assignment or pre-test around the content of the course. Some ways to do this:
- Self-analysis or supervisor analysis as discussed previously
- Case Study
- Reading assignment
- Learning wish list
- Test on prerequisite knowledge
- Goal setting
- Personal case studies (for example, have participants come to the class with a problem or project)
When designed properly, these pre-workshop homework assignments can accomplish a few things:
- Get the participant in the right frame of mind for the workshop
- Provide participants with background knowledge
- Get participants thinking about what they want, making learning more relevant to them
- Help you assess participants’ knowledge and needs, and target your course more accurately
- Help you assess participants’ commitment to the course
Often, trainers may assess learning before and after training, but they may neglect to check in with trainees while they are learning. It’s very important to include this in your training plan, particularly since most training programs start with foundation concepts and build towards advanced concepts. If your trainees get lost at the beginning, your entire program could be in jeopardy.
At the beginning of the program, make sure you review the learning objectives of the course with participants. Give them the opportunity to give you feedback about the objectives:
- Are all the objectives clear?
- Is there anything that is missing?
- Do the objectives seem reasonable?
- Do participants understand how these learning points can translate back to the workplace?
Evaluations During Training
During the program, check in with participants to make sure you’re still on track with the learning objectives. When participants are asked to perform evaluations, point out the connection to the learning objectives.
Asking questions during your training will also help you clarify your participants understanding and get some immediate feedback on the delivery of your training. The questions you ask can include:
- How do participants feel about the training?
- What has been the best thing about the training so far? The worst thing?
- What have participants learned?
- What would participants still like to learn?
You may also want to ask specific questions about key content points.
As stated earlier, quizzes and tests are a good way to measure how much participants are learning during the course. Mid-point tests are good in many situations, including:
- Workshops that have a lot of content
- Workshops with difficult content
- Long workshops
- Topics that depend on each other
Don’t forget that a test doesn’t have to mean an hour-long exam, but can be quick and even gamified to make it light hearted and fun.
Quizzes, questionnaires, and tests are great for evaluating many types of knowledge. However, you may need additional tools to evaluate changes in behavior, abilities, and attitude. Below are some tools that can help you evaluate these types of learning.
Demonstrations: Demonstrations can be a very powerful teaching tool, particularly for complex tasks. One method is to demonstrate the desired task, and then have participants demonstrate it back to you. Or, place participants in groups or pairs and have them demonstrate the task to each other while monitoring the activity.
Role Play: Role plays are often listed as participants’ least favorite part of a workshop, but they are very helpful when learning new behaviors. Conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation, communication, and training are just a few of the topics where role plays can be helpful.
To make the most of role plays, try these tips:
- Give participants the option to take an active or inactive role.
- Have clear instructions and roles.
- Provide constructive feedback.
- Provide tip sheets on the behavior to be role played.
Games: Games can provide a fun, yet educational learning experience for participants. Make sure to practice the game ahead of time and make sure that it truly helps participants practice the skill that they are learning.
Simulations: When they are well designed, simulations are excellent ways to assess how well a participant has learned a skill. They are particularly useful in situations where it is imperative that participants have excellent knowledge before going ahead with the real task, such as medical procedures or machine operation.
Are you leading a train-the-trainer program? Do you want to ensure your trainers are being proactive with evaluating the success of their training? Download our Measuring Results from Training Workshop for everything you need to teach your participants how to analyze the effectiveness of their training and improve it for future workshops.
Posted by Katelyn Roy on