Women discuss effective learning methodsEvaluation serves as a GPS for the learning profession. A GPS tool constantly gathers data to accurately describe your current position. It tells you where you are and helps you navigate to where you want to be. Regular student and learning program evaluation is the only way to know that you’re delivering learning outcomes that will impact your organization.

Critical Evaluation Points

All of your learning programs should include evaluation at specific check points in the learning process. It’s through these measures that the learning results of your programs become visible. It’s how you determine if your learning is effective and that it’s creating the learning outcomes that stakeholders are demanding. Specific evaluation touch points should include:
  • Pre-assessment: This measure reveals what students know before learning begins. It verifies your analysis of the training need. (If students score high during a pre-assessment, that indicates the training program may waste his or her time.)
  • Post-assessment: This measure is taken immediately after the learning program is complete. It shows if the program was effective by increasing knowledge or skills. The student’s scores should show significant improvement. (If the average student scores are low, it indicates poor learning design or facilitation.)
  • Transfer assessment: This measure is taken only if the post-assessment was positive. (If you did not learn it, you cannot transfer it.) Transfer is taken well after learning is complete and once the learner has had time to apply the training on the job. New learning should be retained after the learning program is complete and used effectively on the job. The transfer assessment verifies this and enables the improvement of the business metric (KPM) that the learning was meant to affect. (If the average transfer scores are low, it indicates conditions in the work environment such as manager support, incentives, or time, do not allow for the new learning to be applied and retained.)

Evaluation Provides Intervention Opportunities

When you measure learning at each of the points mentioned above, it provides you with the chance to repair any issues related to impact before moving on to the next evaluation point. As mentioned above, if the student scores high on the pre-assessment, there may be no need for the learning program. Your team may need to reevaluate the need for, or the focus of, the learning program. If the student scores poorly on the post-assessment, then that calls into question the effectiveness of the instruction. You must ask how the instruction failed to pass on knowledge to the students. If students achieved positive post scores but then poor transfer scores, that raises new questions. Why didn’t the learning last? Was the application of the new skills blocked in some way? Is there something on the job, like no management support, that caused a learning lapse? Through evaluation, you can diagnose, repair, and improve your learning design and course facilitation. For learning professionals, evaluating is your quality control. Without these measures, you’re flying blind. Evaluation is the only way to improve your product and prove its effectiveness to stakeholders.

Evaluation Leads to Effective Learning Outcomes

What is effective learning? To be effective means that you successfully produced a desired or intended result. When you began your learning program, your goal was to create training that caused a positive learning outcomes for your company. Evaluation helps you show that change. Those evaluations also provide information at each step of the process. Through that information, you have intervention opportunities. Those instances help you improve the instruction, facilitation, or follow-through for students. These measures reveal your learning program effectiveness and deliver the expected learning outcomes. When it comes to securing learning budgets and proving business value, those are the measures your CEO and other business leaders are looking for. How thorough is your evaluation process? Does it do enough to show you deliver effective learning and desired outcomes? If not, contact us here at eParamus. We’ll show you how to deliver the effectiveness metrics your business leaders want. Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD to discuss the learning challenges you face.
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