Tip #107: Evaluation

The ninth and last step in the comprehensive nine step LESSON PLANning Process is:


  1. Build in participant application exercises that will show both the participants and the trainer that the necessary learning has occurred.
  2. Decide appropriate formal participant evaluation method(s).
  3. Identify necessary follow-up support to reinforce learning.
  4. Identify necessary ROI measures and procedures.

Evaluation does not have to mean paper and pencil tests or “smile” sheets at the end of the training session. Donald Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation Level II assesses whether or not the learning objectives were achieved and learning has occurred. Application exercises, in which the participants apply what they have learned within the classroom setting, are a particularly effective way to accomplish this assessment.

To evaluate Level I, participant reaction, we may want to use a written evaluation or have each participant report one a key learning from the workshop.

At Level III, we evaluate if the new learning has transferred to the work site and the participants are exhibiting new behaviors as a result of the training.

We may engage supervisors to reinforce the learning on the job and provide feedback regarding the desired change in behavior. We may send periodic job aids or email reminders regarding key aspects of the new learning. We may even have the participants write an action plan during the training session and then discuss it with their supervisors, to incorporate the new learning into performance criteria.

At Level IV, we are concerned about evaluating the business impact resulting from the application of new skills on the job. Beyond individual performance, can we now measure increased productivity or customer service satisfaction, for example.

If we can convert these metrics into time or money saved, we can move into measuring the actual Return on Investment (ROI) from the training. This is where we provide proof that workplace learning translates into improved employee performance that results in true cost savings for the organization.

Training does not occur in a vacuum. Our needs assessment reveals skill, attitude, or performance gaps that can be addressed through training. Our entire training design is intended to remediate these identified gaps. To most effectively evaluate whether or not the training is effective, we need to partner with managers to obtain meaningful pre-training and post-training performance and productivity measurements.

Once our lesson plan is designed, we have one more task ahead of us- to create the actual training materials and audiovisual resources. We simply follow the recipe in our lesson plan. Either we draw the necessary information from subject matter experts or we have sufficient knowledge of the content areas ourselves. We reformat that information into the various training methods we have identified in the lesson plan or incorporate it into reference materials.

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