Why You Must Measure Behavior and Not Opinion to Find Your Training ROI

Measure behavior in order to measure training resultsMeasure behavior, not opinion.

Those words are the first image you see on the eParamus® website. And in a previous post, I discussed why behavior matters far more than attitude.

I wanted to explain what I mean when I say measure behavior.

Can Surveys Measure Training Impact?

Think about how most people assess training impact. Most do it with surveys but do surveys really measure behavior change?

Surveys tell us someone’s view or opinion. Surveys are used in marketing research, political polls, TV or radio ratings. People use surveys to know how someone feels about something.

Think how odd it is that surveys are the de facto means to measure training impact.

What do surveys tell you about training? You’ll find out how students felt about the training. Students will tell you if they think the content was relevant. They will say if they think they will use the content on the job. You’ll even find out if they think using that content will actually improve their performance.

Surveys only give an opinion about impact. Nowhere do surveys take results into account.

Surveys do not measure if knowledge or skills were gained. From a survey, there is no way to know if the student actually learned anything.

Using an Impact Model to Measure Behavior

After a training session, have you witnessed positive survey results? Did students say they thought the training was relevant? That it would be used? That it would have an impact on their job? After those wonderful survey results, what happened? Did you see a discernible change in behavior? Probably not. All too often, this is the result.

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

The ROI by Design® model is an impact model. It doesn’t measure perception. It measures behavior.

For too long, training measurement impact has been a blind spot for businesses. To measure impact for training, you must first consider what the actual impact of training should be. The goal of any training program is centered on creating a behavior change.

Training in organizations supports the development of a specific set of behavior changes needed to move a business forward. Training impact can and, in fact, must be measured by the actual behavior change addressed by the training program.

Remove Perception from the Equation and Measure Behavior

The impact model of measurement does not rely on student perception. Rather it measures knowledge and skill gain by directly testing for it. The ROI by Design® impact model measures knowledge and skill before the training and compares it to a measure immediately after the training, and then again several months after the training. In addition, it measures the intended organizational impact (the key performance metric [KPM]) before and after the training to confirm that the behavior changes actually impacted the identified metric.

An impact model clarifies what has been gained from a training program. Those results can be provided to all stakeholders as evidence of the real value of the training program. Unlike perception models, impact models provide empirical evidence of knowledge and skill gains, and direct evidence of how the behavior changes derived from training benefited the organization.

Step away from the survey and learn how to find the true impact of your training. If you want more details about this model, check out my book, ROI By Design.

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