The Best Methods To Evaluate Training Effectiveness

Training is a vital part of the development of people, without it, a business can never hope to grow and expand into new markets or directions.

But training just by itself won’t help your employees to grow. Only effective and well-thought-through training that identifies and acts on a purpose can achieve this. So, to successfully achieve the best results, you’ll need a method that evaluates the effectiveness of training. 

Today, we’ll look at three methods that evaluate training effectiveness that you can use in your business.


The Kirkpatrick Taxonomy

The most popular method, the Kirkpatrick Taxonomy method provides a four-level strategy that rates the effectiveness of any training course. It looks at:

  • Reaction
  • Learning
  • Behaviour
  • Results

Reaction identifies how the participants responded to training, allowing them to complete a short survey to discuss their thoughts on the learning environment. Learning gauges what participants took away from the course, while behaviour allows you to identify if what was learned was put into action - you may need to ask supervisors to assess them to discover the results, which is, of course, the last part of the Kirkpatrick Taxonomy. 

The results section will identify whether the training met the executive or management's expectations, also known as ROE (Return on Expectations).

What’s interesting about this methodology is that the original creator (Don Kirkpatrick) suggests working backwards through the four different levels. This will mean that a business will need to approach this with the outcome in mind and then design the training course around the result.


The Phillips ROI Methodology

The Phillips ROI (Return on Investment) methodology was developed after the Kirkpatrick Taxonomy and sought to highlight and fix deficiencies in the earlier method. As a result, the Phillips ROI Methodology has five levels:

  • Reaction
  • Learning
  • Application and Implementation
  • Impact
  • Return on Investment (ROI)

While the first two levels (reaction and learning) are similar to the Kirkpatrick method, it’s from level three where the Phillips method starts to deviate.

One of the criticisms of the Kirkpatrick approach is that it didn’t accurately measure whether training translates into the workplace. So, with the Phillips model, it focuses on whether or not there is a problem with the application or the implementation of the training itself.

Level four focuses on the impact of the training while level five measures whether the training meets the expectations of the stakeholders by looking at the ROI. It uses a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the training program was worth the time, money and resources that were invested by looking at the results.

The Phillips methodology produces results by highlighting quantifiable factors from before, during and after training, allowing businesses to have a clear and concise way of seeing the whole picture.


The CIPP Evaluation Model

The final approach to evaluation that we’ll explore is the CIPP model, an acronym that stands for:

  • Context
  • Input
  • Process
  • Product

Unlike the other models, the CIPP Evaluation model aims to improve what you’re doing and is proactive rather than reactive.

While the two previous models certainly have their advantages, the CIPP Evaluation model allows stakeholders and decision-makers to alter and adjust a training program before, during and after. The beauty of this model is that it allows the course to be adapted to allow participants to get the most out of the program whilst also allowing its impact to be assessed at all times. 

It’s four levels: context, input, process and product, can all be used before and after training, giving you an all-round ability to evaluate at any moment. For example, for context, you might consider what you need to do before and whether the training met all your objectives for after. It’s a versatile model and one that many businesses’ will use to be progressive in evaluating training effectiveness.


How Should You Evaluate Effectiveness?

These widely used training evaluation models each have their advantages and disadvantages and the right one will be different for each business.

Your choice on which one to use will be determined by your budget, resources and perhaps most importantly, the time you have available to implement a training evaluation method. However, putting the effort into utilising one of these methods will allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of your training with precision and clear results, allowing you to then adjust accordingly and move forward with confidence.


How To Have Better Conversations

Getting the most from a training course can be done by having better and more thoughtful conversations. So why not take up our Better Conversations course to find an effective way of getting the most out of every interaction you have?

You’ll learn how to stop conflict in communication before it starts, learn the secret to difficult conversations, understand how to deal with emotion, improve your listening skills and so much more.

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