The most successful training programs are those that are tracked and evaluated. Most organizations know that, but they often fail at the very beginning to look at the whole program as individual pieces. Being too general with evaluation will mean you miss out on important data that you can use immediately to improve your efforts.
Some items you can measure before you begin, some while a course is in process, and others as part of a longer effort. Look at the individual parts of your program, give your evaluation some context, and you’ll be able to have a clearer idea of what’s working–and what isn’t.
The training program. Looking at the program as a whole isn’t the same as looking at a course. Is the program meeting its goals (remember, you set goals before you even began assembling anything)? How does it stack up against your success measures (setting measures of success is another exercise you should have done at the offset). Are the key stakeholders satisfied? Is there a return on investment, both in terms of money and effort?
Individual courses. Next, focus in on individual courses. Pull out your measures of success and course goals and hold them against courses. Are you hitting your targets? Are your employees able to demonstrate that they’ve improved their skills?
Instructor. Separate the instructor from the course, and look at how they’re doing. Look at evaluations from students and also measure performance against job requirements. Does the instructor have the right training and temperament to teach online? Do they need additional education? Are they accessible to students and good at facilitating discussion? Also review teaching strategies to make sure you’re asking the instructor to deliver information the right way.
Resources. Resources go stale quickly online, so make sure links are up to date and that external websites you’re referring are still relevant. Policies and guidelines also change quickly, which might make them irrelevant or provide opportunities for improvement. Also evaluate whether resources were used correctly or if there’s a better option that meets your objectives.
Activities. Evaluate every learning activities right after it was completed so instructors and administrators know if participants are learning and if the activity serves the learning objective. Pair activities with learning objectives and weigh the outcome. If it seems unclear, you may need to evaluate your course’s learning objectives as well.
Technology. Finally, look at your delivery mechanism and see if it is serving your goals or hindering education. Do you have the capacity you need to offer training online, or would it make sense to outsource it? How do participants and instructors feel about the tools? What deficiencies or improvements could you implement to make the experience better?
Look at evaluation early and often, and your program will continue to improve. As you finish one round of evaluations, also evaluate your evaluation process so it’s even better next time. Your employees and your organization will benefit.
Want even more help with improving or setting up your training program? Download a free copy of our e-book E-Learning Strategy Essentials.