Speed to Proficiency     Creating a sustainable competitive advantage

TAG | Learning evaluation

KirkpatrickWe know smile sheets aren’t terribly useful, and we need to focus evaluation efforts on whether learners can do their jobs better after training. Here’s a simple way to do it.

For those of you who are not familiar with it, Donald Kirkpatrick suggests there is a hierarchy of evaluation methods.

Level 1 evaluations ask for learners’ reactions to a training course. Did they like it? This is the familiar “smile sheet” we often get after a training course.

Level 2 assesses whether, in fact, the person learned something. Did they retain the knowledge? This is often assessed using a post test to see how much of the content was retained.

Level 3 looks at whether they can do their job better as a result of training. Did they transfer the learning from the classroom into the work site?

I believe that Level 3 is the gold standard. We “contract” with managers to help people do their jobs better, according to the policies, procedures, and guidelines they are given.

In designing scores of blended learning programs in a number of industries, I’ve found a very simple approach to doing Level 3 evaluations:  Ask the managers.

It’s not the most sophisticated, but it’s easy and it works. Thirty days after completing a program of study, send the learners’ managers a survey asking if the learner is meeting expectations for putting skills into practice on the job. A more complex version of this asks the manager to rate specific skills; a less complex version simply asks the manager to state in their own words any areas where the learner is falling short.

What we found in practice is when this type of information is provided to initiative owners and executive sponsors, they are satisfied that L&D has met the “contract terms” of ensuring that employees are ready to do their jobs.

Excerpted from Speed to Proficiency: Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage. (c) Bill Bruck, Ph.D., 2015 (paperback and Kindle)

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