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Imagine that you conducted a one-day training for your employees and spent $10,000 on it. After this, any entrepreneur will ask: What benefits did the company receive? Have sales increased? Or have employees become more loyal to the business?

By answering these questions, you will be able to assess whether the staff needed it or whether you, as a generous philanthropist, spent a tidy sum in favor of trends and business fashion.

Business loves counting. The effectiveness of the learning process also needs to be measured. The challenge is that this is not so easy to do. However, in this article, we will try to figure out how to consistently measure training effectiveness for your business. 

What is Training Effectiveness?

Training effectiveness measures the impact of training on the trainee's knowledge, skills, productivity, and the company's return on investment. 

Training goals and objectives should be defined before training begins so that they can be clearly and accurately evaluated. For example, a trainee's productivity, sales volume, overall mood, and happiness levels can be measured during both pre- and post-training. This demonstrates the quality and effectiveness of the training provided and allows businesses to either continue doing the same or change their approach.

The use of evidence-based methods to evaluate the effectiveness of training programs is known as training effectiveness management.

Measuring Training Effectiveness: Why do You Need it?

There are many reasons why organizations (large and small) continually measure training effectiveness. Here are the main 3 points.

3 Main Reasons To Measure Training Effectiveness

1. Determine whether training benefits employees

Perhaps the most important reason to evaluate the effectiveness of training is to find out whether it is benefiting your employees' skills and productivity. It also gives them a clear idea of ​​what they have achieved and the path they need to take to get to the next level.

When it comes to learning and development (L&D), feedback and encouragement are critical. Almost all employees require positive reinforcement for things they do well and want to know how to improve them.

Without measurement, your employees will probably feel like their on-the-job employee training is useless. Measuring the effectiveness of your training will help you communicate to your employees where the company is today and where it aims to go, as well as the skills needed to achieve that goal.

Consequently, managers and employees can come together and discuss the results, helping employees feel part of the larger vision.

2. To see the impact on business performance and determine the profitability of training

The ultimate goal of all training programs is to improve business performance and achieve a return on your investment. Changes in productivity, sales, and profits can be tracked and measured, and for sure you want to see an increase in all of the above.

💡Interesting Note: Statistics show that organizations that regularly invest in training perform 75% better than those that do not. Yet, it must be the right type of training, and it must be carefully monitored and measured.

For example, it could be difficult to determine whether the training in question resulted in increased sales or was the result of something else, such as a marketing campaign or economic stimulation.

This is why it is important to study things like learning transfer and noticeable changes in behavior that may have occurred after training programs.

3. Identify problems in the training process and improve it

When you invest valuable resources such as time, money, and energy into your employee training programs, it's significant to evaluate whether they are working or not. Your training intentions will be unique to your long-term and business goals. This is why you need to define clear goals from the very beginning. If you don't do this, then any results you get will be meaningless because you don't have a goal in sight.

Once you understand where you are going and what your desired outcome is, measuring your training effectiveness will help you understand whether you are on the right track.

If a particular training program is highly effective, it can be implemented for everyone from executives to managers to new employees. This helps unite the company with common goals. And if training isn't producing the results you want, you need to determine why and where it's failing, and then make adjustments accordingly.

💡Example: In the ADDIE learning process model, assessment is an integral part of each stage of the learning development process. This allows L&D practitioners and educators to continuously improve training to achieve learning goals.

How to Measure Training Effectiveness: Best Models

Many smart people have tried to invent a training evaluation model. Some of this prototypes remain until now. Let's analyze these top models: their essence, pros and cons.

1. Kirkpatrick model

This is a dinosaur model😅. You may ask — why? It is already more than half a century old, and in modern realities, it is a little “naive”. But it has survived to this day and is still in use because everything is well thought out. There are 4 stages at which you need to stop and evaluate specific points:

  • Reaction — how students react to learning. If something is stuck or unclear, we improve it. Poor performance here threatens good results.
  • Comprehension — how students learned the material. We conduct a screening test and other rituals.
  • Behavior — how students work after the course. Increased efficiency, speed, or whatever was needed?
  • Result — let's sum it up. What benefits did the training bring, did it solve your problems?

➕Main Pros: Kirkpatrick assessment turns learning into a business tool— something that is not abstractly educational, but something tangible and useful.

➖Main Cons: The financial side is not taken into account — whether the training was spent.

2. Phillips model

Kirkpatrick believed that the result of training should not be counted in money. There are a lot of human factors involved, and it’s difficult to assess the return on investment ROI.

Forty years have passed since the appearance of his model. Phillips proposed a new one — with an important addition. Since we are talking about business training, it is critically essential to evaluate the financial side: training is part of the business and not just development.

➕Main Pros: Everything is taken into account: how the training is applied in practice, whether it achieved its goals, and if it provided a return on investment.

➖Main Cons:  The model is not suitable for everyone and not always. To accurately calculate the ROI of training, you need a strong financial department.

3. Stufflebeam model (CIPP)

The second name of this model is CIPP. Right now, it will be clear why:

  • Context Evaluation — we evaluate the development context. Who will we teach, what and why?
  • Input Evaluation — look at what we have at the input. What kind of educational project do we want? What do we want to achieve?
  • Process Evaluation — we evaluate learning in the process. How is everything going? What are the interim results?
  • Product Evaluation — we look at the results of training. How did employees unlearn? How do they work now?

➕Main Pros: The emphasis is distributed evenly across all stages: we evaluate preparation for training, the process, and life after. We go through the training comprehensively and collect a three-dimensional picture.

➖Main Cons: Lacks focus on clear results. We mainly receive answers that are useful for reflection and the development of learning. To give a business all the answers about efficiency, additional calculations will be needed.

4. CIRO model

This model is similar to the previous one, with adjustments for a humane approach — a lot of attention is paid to students. Developed by the team: Warr, Bird, and Rackham. It is sometimes called the Byrd model, but the more common name is CIRO, and this is what it stands for:

  • Content Evaluation — Who, what, and why needs to be taught?
  • Input Evaluation — How will we teach and evaluate? What resources are there?
  • Reaction Evaluation — What do students think: how do they like learning in general, what is clear, easy, and convenient, and what is not?
  • Outcome Evaluation — Did you achieve what you wanted or not?

➕Main Pros: Finally, attention is being paid to students. Their perception of the training influences its effectiveness — an important component of the evaluation. The model will help launch training carefully and add human-centeredness.

➖Main Cons: Many answers are useful for training development — there are not enough clear answers for business: how everything worked and whether it paid off.

5. Scrivens model (Goal Free Evaluation)

Scrivens suggested inviting an external evaluator who is not at all aware of what you’re taught and what you want to achieve. The evaluator will look at the outcome and diagnose whether the training is effective.

➕Main Pros: You relieve yourself of the task of working out the details of the assessment (process, criteria). You get an outside view, not clouded by the routine of your business and training.

➖Main Cons: The need for well-trained, experienced appraisers. Where can I get them, and how can I check their reliability? The Scrivens model is not a complete way to evaluate performance, but rather an interesting approach to complement internal evaluation.

What indicators can be used to measure learning effectiveness?

All the corporate training programs must solve business problems: increasing sales, developing service, improving internal communication, etc. Usually, we use KPIs to measure the performance of an employee, department, or company as a whole. However, for measuring learning effectiveness, there are other specific indicators that we need to evaluate.

Metrics for assessing training effectiveness

  •  Number of employees who successfully completed training.
  •  Pass/fail the test.
  •  How well training decisions match job functions.
  •  Rate of behavioral change associated with training decisions.
  •  Impact of training decisions on business KPIs.
  •  Financial return ratio.
💡 Note: Often, the decision on how the effectiveness of staff training will be measured comes after the program has been created and launched. Yet, these metrics should be determined during the training needs analysis stage.

Best Practices for Measuring Training Effectiveness

The following five best practices will help you evaluate training effectiveness:

1. Have a reasonable number of KPIs

Be selective when choosing. The more metrics you include, the more information you have to work with. But don't overload yourself with too many KPIs.

2. Define your key performance indicators before the development stage of your training

Knowing what you want to measure first will allow you to choose the most appropriate performance measurement method. You may want to consult with key stakeholders and find out which metrics are most important to them.

3. Plan your data collection schedule during the design phase of your training

You need to know when you want to measure training and employee performance and how you'll do it. Build this into your training schedule to stay organized and meet stakeholder expectations.

4. Set up your rating system 

You may not need to measure all four levels of Kirkpatrick's model; It can also be a lengthy and expensive process. Take the time to analyze your training needs and choose the training performance measurement model that best suits them. For example, you may find that it only makes sense for you to measure the second and fourth levels of the Kirkpatrick model. Do what you need to do to make a confident and informed decision about the effectiveness of your training.

5. Act based on your insights 

Perhaps the most significant method for measuring training effectiveness is to make sure you put your findings into practice. This means making changes and improvements where needed and taking action quickly.

What Tech Tools Enhance Training Measurement?

Modern technology offers a variety of tools to enhance training measurement. Learning Management Systems, such as EducateMe LMS, provide comprehensive tracking and reporting features that monitor employee progress and engagement in real-time. 

Advanced analytics within these systems can evaluate knowledge retention and skill application, offering detailed insights into training effectiveness. 

Additionally, AI-driven platforms can personalize learning paths and predict future performance based on current data. 

Tools like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can simulate real-world scenarios, making it easier to assess practical application and problem-solving skills. 

Surveys and feedback tools integrated within these systems gather qualitative data from participants, providing a holistic view of the training's impact. 

Together, these tech tools create a robust framework for measuring training effectiveness.

Conclusion

Immediate calculation of the results may not ensure their minimum accuracy, even with the correct choice of training evaluation criteria. After some time, the employee will gradually come to their senses after such a powerful learning component and all the knowledge and skills acquired during the training process will be systematized. These skills will find a way out in production activities as the employee realizes their importance and significance.

The best solution would be to check it several times — for example after 3, 6, and 12 months.

And of course remember about automation, automation, and automation:) Connect modern learning technologies and let the process of assessing the effectiveness of training no longer be a problem for you.

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