How to measure the effectiveness of training programs from Industry Partner, iSpring

Autumn is the harvest season, so no wonder why you might need to reap the result of your training initiatives now. It’s time to get equipped with helpful knowledge on how to measure training effectiveness in your organisation! We hope this article will offer action-based advice and point you in the right direction. Let’s dive in.

What Is Training Effectiveness?

Training effectiveness is a measure of the degree to which learning improves employee performance or compliance. To put it simply, when you measure training effectiveness, you’ll be looking for a substantial increase in sales, a decrease in workplace accidents, or an improved customer satisfaction rating. These can serve as powerful indicators that your investment in training really shows a return.

But here comes the tricky part: while measuring training effectiveness, you shouldn’t bypass the quality of training materials. And if you see that training programs yield fewer results than you expected or none at all, shift the focus to the training metrics and use them as your starting point.

What are Training Metrics?

Training metrics are parameters that indicate how well your learners are engaged in the training process, how fast they progress through training materials, and what should be improved to make training more effective. 

Simple examples of metrics that came from classroom training include attendance and hand-raising. In eLearning, we can have a far more elaborate system of training metrics that can be more credible and insightful. They apply to different levels of evaluation:

Learning performance

  • Pass or fail rate;
  • Scoring in quizzes, assignments, and knowledge checks;
  • Details on learning attempts. 

Reaction and engagement

  • Training completion rate (i.e., the number of learners who finished a course);
  • Learning dropout rate (i.e., the number of people who didn’t complete a course or decided to put it aside);
  • Training experience satisfaction (learners’ feedback on what can be improved in the course, post-training surveys, and star grading).

This is a partial list of the most obvious metrics you need to keep track of. Doing this manually can be extremely tedious when it comes to training across a company. For such tasks, a learning management system (LMS) comes in especially handy.

The system will track, collect, and present clear reports on training in a timely manner, so you won’t miss a thing. A quick glimpse at reports like the one above will help you detect bottlenecks in training promptly, allowing you to boost its effectiveness. If there are any employees who stubbornly neglect training, and those who don’t finish, you’ll be the first to know and implement solutions.

For example, the cause of a low training completion rate may lie in technical difficulties (e.g., browser incompatibility, corrupted files, etc.) or low engagement and motivation. Don’t ignore these signs: sometimes a seemingly minor improvement or clarification can lead to better learner performance.

Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Model

An attentive reader might notice that the groups we’ve placed training metrics into coincide with the first two layers of the four-layer Kirkpatrick Model (Reaction, Learning, Behaviour, Results). If necessary, you can learn more about this and other evaluation models and methods in this article.

Indeed, you can certainly use training metrics within the Kirkpatrick Model and combine them with surveys about learners’ reactions to a training program. It’s fairly easy to run employee surveys and process results in the LMS as well.

With such a data-driven approach, you’re all set to proceed with an evaluation of behavioural change (the Behaviour layer in the Kirkpatrick Model). Among other things, it’s advisable to ask supervisors if their subordinates apply the new knowledge. Supervisors can also see the major training metrics regarding their team on a designated dashboard in the LMS, so you all stay well informed.

And, of course, with all the training metrics, employee surveys results, and direct observations of workplace performance, you’ll be able to arrive at informed conclusions at the Results stage of your training evaluation.

This is when your business goals for the training should be matched and the output should be measurable. Typically, companies look either for lower costs, a better quality of service, faster processes, or more income, and expect such results from training. The truth is that with effective training, all of these results can be achieved.

We wish you good luck in your eLearning endeavours and fascinating training effectiveness!