How Can We Measure the Outcomes of Training?

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  • Training for the sake of training is not a good investment of the time, energy or money we put into the creation of a training program. It is important to measure the outcomes of training, but it can be challenging to find the most effective way to do so. Read on to discover the best approach to take when measuring the success of your programs.

Consider the training type

  • If your training was designed to teach learners how to effectively use a policy or procedure, measuring outcomes can be a relatively straightforward process- you can simply compare compliance or error rates after training to the rates before training. When doing this, be sure to analyze an extended period of time to account for any initial drop-off in retention. Looking at an extended period of time provides additional opportunities for coaching and reinforcement by the trainer or leader of learners. 
  • If your training is focused on tactical skills rather than technical skills, success metrics can be a little bit muddier. Consider incorporating a pre- and post-assessment into your program, asking learners to self-assess their ability to utilize skills covered in the class. Pre-assessments provide a baseline for learning and allow facilitators to measure change while administering post-assessments. Post-assessment questions should focus both on confidence in the learner’s abilities in addition to knowledge of the types of tools available to support them outside of the classroom environment. (Pro tip: For even more robust analysis, include the perspective of the learner’s direct supervisor or manager in pre- and post-assessments.)

Go beyond “smile sheets”

  • As important as it is to know that learners enjoy the programs we facilitate, it is better to build post-program evaluations that allow learners time to reflect on their key takeaways from the session. Consider including a combination of closed and open-ended questions to provide the broadest perspective and minimize survey fatigue. Closed-ended questions could include asking participants to rank their happiness with the program and their confidence in applying program objectives in their daily work. Open-ended questions could ask participants specific things they enjoyed about the program, opportunities for improvement, and how they will apply the material learned in their daily work. 
  • By more closely analyzing the type of training outcomes you are hoping to achieve, you can better align your post-program assessments to truly measure what matters. Using assessments and data analysis in a more efficient and effective way will provide a higher likelihood that your participants will provide more detailed feedback, giving you more valuable information to improve and refine your programs moving forward.

We believe leadership matters

FOCUS Training is an interactive leadership development company that has been helping people achieve excellence through understanding and action since 1992.

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Milwaukee, WI 53204