For Training, Is Perception Reality?

SurveyYou’re familiar with that last step of a training session. You know…the last request the trainer makes of you right before you get to leave for the day. You’re usually tired, glad training is over, and even more glad if it ended early. But you have to pencil in those little circles on the survey sheet…or click a button if you’re filling out an online survey. You have to tell the training provider what you thought about the session.

Do Questionnaires Tell You What You Need to Know?

The survey is the most frequently used measurement of training. This is a level one evaluation and 92% of organizations complete this type of measurement. Level one evaluations ask for the student’s reaction to training. These surveys ask about the facilitator’s skills, if the training was relevant, if the course goals were met, and if the student thinks he or she will use the information learned back on the job.

Some organizations even attempt the second level of evaluation. This level measures what was learned in the training. Again, this evaluation usually takes place at the end of the program. This typically consists of a test made up of multiple choice or true/false questions and should reveal, immediately after the training, if any knowledge or skill gain was made by the student.

Finally, levels three and four (transfer of learning and organizational impact) are rarely measured by organizations. If they are measured, again it’s usually done by survey or questionnaire. Students are questioned if they think the training will be used on the job and how much they think the organization will be impacted by the training.

What Do Surveys Really Tell You?

When you use surveys to assess training, what do you get? You get students who tell you if they think the content was relevant, if they think they will use the content on the job, and if they think using that content will make an impact on the organization. You get their perception (opinion) of impact!

Most of us can agree that what people think they will do, what they say they will do, and what they actually do can be very different things.

Don’t get me wrong…the information gleaned from these surveys can be helpful! But that information will never give you hard data about results or tell you if the training added to your bottom-line. These are perception models of evaluation. On our next post, we’ll talk about impact models, which do offer hard data and will tell you the value of training.

So what do you think? Are perception models helpful? Do you agree with my assertion that they cannot provide hard data about the value of training? Tell us in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Are you ready to move past the perception model? If you want to find out more, contact eParamus.
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