4 Steps To Evaluate Employee Learning Performance

01/29/2018

We know your heart is in the right place. We know that you really, really want to show everyone in your company that training delivers performance value. And you know, with constant reminders from business leaders, your company puts a lot of money, time, and hard work training employees. After putting so much work into planning and creating training, what's the one issue you always run into like a brick wall? Attempting to evaluate whether your training effort made a difference.

This is a problem. It's a huge problem! If you don't demonstrate what participants learn makes a difference in how they do their work you know "something" will hit the fan. It's not just about proving it to your leaders it's also about maintaining your sanity. Don't you not want to know what you design and develop is actually making a difference? More importantly, don't you want to know what isn't effective early in the process before someone else points it out?

Learning And Performance

When we ask learning practitioners what is the purpose of training the answer we get is 'to get people to learn'. Wrong answer! The correct answer is always about positively affecting performance. What you need to commit to mind is that training is only about improving performance and what employees learn is only one part of this process.

Another part is to getting participants to actually apply what they learn to improve their performance. This is precisely the point for training...changing employee behavior to improve performance. But to do this effectively you must assess, evaluate, and test to prove the learning you deliver leads to improving performance.

Many trainers justify their efforts by simply conducting tests. While this is an effective way to assess how much participants recall, it certainly isn’t effective when determining whether the person can apply the skills and whether they can do it consistently.

Testing is excellent for knowledge recall but is always under scrutiny to measure learning effectiveness. You see the results of testing in schools all of the time. Students prepare taking tests using various short-term recall techniques. When asked post-test what they know, they often forget most of what they learned. With adults learning recall declines significantly.

4 Steps To Effective Performance Evaluation

Evaluating performance isn’t and shouldn’t be an after-thought. It should be something planned during the design stage and fully integrated practically throughout the learning process. Properly assessing participant performance requires preparation at different times and within different areas of the training activity:

1. Identifying What Participants Need For Their Job

This should go without saying and begins before the actual training session. Effective trainers figure out what employees need to know and focus on the skills, tools, or knowledge that will get them to do their jobs better.

2. Matching Session Learning Objectives With Job Requirements

After you’ve come up with a list of the things participants must do on the job, it’s time to align the learning objectives with participant needs. In other words, you must create assessment methods allowing you to determine if employees have met the learning objectives in a way appropriate to the job requirements.

3. Assessing Performance During And Upon Completing The Training

Effective trainers do this by developing one or more assessment tools for each learning objective. During the session, you want to apply a variety of these assessment methods. For example, a learning objective might be “Perform procedure X” and you may ask participants to perform the steps of procedure X in order from first to last. Or, if you want to step it up and make it more practical, ask participants to apply the skills to resolve precise job-specific scenarios.

4. Evaluating The Training Effort After A Period Of Time

Too often, learning practitioners claim 'training success' when they demonstrate participants apply the skills soon after completing the learning activity. Assessing lasting learning effectiveness is about demonstrating sustainable and consistent employee performance improvement over a period of time.

Providing refresher sessions, monitoring job performance, and seeing how well participants achieve specific performance objectives initially set during the session provides insight to the effectiveness of the training itself.

Effective training is more than delivering content. It’s about how well participants can perform the skills they receive from training. When planning your next training session, first identify what participants need to apply for the job. Then use this knowledge to develop a variety of assessment tools and then apply them appropriately throughout and after the session.

By Ajay Pangarkar

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