Proving the Value of Training

Three measuring tapes over a chart, symbolising the effort to measure the value of training and development

Training and development is an expensive business, not just when you consider the hard costs of venues, trainers, printing material and fees to develop e-learning content, but also in terms of the investment in time, both by the learners and training administration staff. With this backdrop, all organisations are keen to ensure that the training they provide is as effective as it can be, and that the significant costs involved are justified. With this backdrop, all organisations are keen to ensure that the training they provide is as effective as it can be, and that the significant costs involved are justified. Organisations need clear ways to prove the value of training and development they provide.

It is understandable that training departments are increasingly under pressure to show the impact of their contribution, especially in regulated industries like pharmaceuticals or financial services where the quality of training has far-reaching implications. For a life science sales representative, the knowledge they acquire via training can affect doctor’s decisions with regards to patients; in financial services, poor training or lack of knowledge retention can lead to employees working outside regulations, leading to breaches, fines and a tainted reputation. While few people would debate the necessity of training, it is important to put in place methods to check if learners actually understand and can apply the key information that they have learned. This also helps to measure the effectiveness of the training activity - if participants don’t change their behaviour or correctly apply what they have learned, then there’s no real benefit in running the training.

So how do you best measure knowledge before, during and after training? The most common approach is to employ the stages of the Kirkpatrick Model to measure formal and informal training effectiveness, and look at reaction, learning, behaviour and results. This can give organisations much better insight into how their training is impacting employee’s knowledge, behaviour and performance on the job. It can however be an onerous task to set up assessments at every stage of the training process, tying up a lot of time and resources, so you may want to consider new online assessment technologies that can help to simplify all stages in the process. By using the right online assessment system, tangible metrics which directly relate to key business goals and specific learning objectives are accurately measured and reported in an automated manner.

It is worth finding out if your online assessment system can work within all stages of the Kirkpatrick model. This might include:

  • running surveys after training events to gauge participant feedback (reaction);
  • rolling out multiple styles of assessments to check what knowledge was retained, which can be done before, during and after training events (learning);
  • pre-surveys as well as one or more post-surveys to allow for participants as well as third parties to rate an individual’s performance and track changes over time (behaviour change);
  • collating management and/or employee feedback to enable comparison of stated results and KPI objectives with performance outcomes (results).

To measure the impact of training and simplify the approach you use, a system should have the ability to easily and quickly create, roll out and collate survey and diagnostic test data from participants and third parties. All of these should be analysed in a holistic and easy-to-understand manner with filtering options, thus giving you the full picture and the insights you need.

If this is of interest and you’d like more information on how online assessment with TestReach helps with measuring the value of training and development, download our Guide to Measuring Training Effectiveness here.