If you don’t measure results, you can’t tell success from failure.
Evaluation comes in all shapes and sizes and it can be difficult to know what’s important. Too much evaluation can slow down training implementation and frustrate the participant as the questions are too long, irrelevant to them and have no improvement measures. Asking the wrong questions in evaluation can do more damage than good as you can set up false expectations for the participants. “The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question” (Peter Drucker).
Too little evaluation means you won’t know if the training was valuable or not. While must people start with a happy sheet at the end, the most important feedback you need is about if the participant has learnt anything and how they can implement this learning when necessary.
So how does evaluation ensure better outcomes and results?
- Saves money, time and effort on training that isn’t working or delivering what you want
- Gives you a chance to get it right the next time rather than repeating the same mistakes
- Makes replicating what’s working easily and specifically in other training programs
- Allows you to set measurements on achievements and results
Participants also need to self-evaluate to understand if they are improving their skills and knowledge. They require feedback to identify the areas where they need to undertake further learning and development. Giving participants ways to self-evaluate provides them with confidence, motivation and information.
How do you get the right balance in evaluation?
- Make sure you have the right technology to get the data you need easily and quickly
- Its not just all about the stats, some of the most powerful evaluation methods include the stories that go with them
- Make sure your participants get a chance to see how they are progressing, learning data shouldn’t be kept in a vault never to be seen again
- Plan your evaluation strategy before you plan your training including how you are going to follow up with the results
- Consider the results you want out of the training