4 principles for improving the evaluation of training


Old habits die hard.  The training profession’s focus on (Kirkpatrick) Levels 1 to 4 (or 5) evaluation is a case in point.  In some cases, people have mastered the art of using traditional training evaluation effectively.  But for the most part, training, OD and HR professionals realize that their methods of evaluating the impact of training and development have failed to produce the type of credibility (and budgets) they would like.

By adopting these four principles for training evaluation, you will create the circumstances for breakthrough results:

1.       Have noble aspirations

  • Do not undertake evaluation as a means of justifying staff or budgets
  • Do design evaluation as a tool for continuous improvement

2.       Ensure that “the perfect” doesn’t become the enemy of “the good”

  • Do not strive for an unrealistic or unobtainable standard of evidence
  • Do strive to create the standard of evidence that executives will find compelling

3.       Every evaluation should be acted upon

  • Do not undertake evaluations that fail to produce actionable insights
  • Do consistently act upon the insights that your evaluations produce

4.       Create an “organic” system for evaluating training

  • Do not undertake ROI in a vacuum
  • Do build training evaluation into a larger HR measurement agenda (create actionable business intelligence by linking records from your LMS to employee survey outcomes to your organization’s KPIs)


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