Sunday, November 29, 2015
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Many training professionals erroneously view post-program evaluation from the perspective of a simple "smile sheet."
However, we endorse a much broader view of evaluation that begins long before the end of a specific training event.
Use this collection of our favorite resources for post-program evaluations with substance to achieve effective program evaluation with minimal resources and wasted effort.

Before you begin to plan your evaluation efforts, keep in mind that
not all programs require a detailed post-program evaluation. Determining the degree of evaluation that your program requires will keep you from wasting valuable resources.

Some trainers throw together smile sheets the day before the program, or simply recycle their existing, ineffective smile sheets. Many of the items on these forms pertain directly to the trainer and the trainer's facilitation of the course. However, these types of issues often can be addressed and fixed during class,
before it's too late. Review these additional resources for tips on engaging in formative evaluation:

Pull Up a Chair to Gain Qualitative Data

Pull Up a Virtual Chair During Online Training Sessions

Do You Allow Time for Training Evaluation?

Learner Feedback On-the-Go: Formative Level 1 Evaluation

With these issues covered, your post-training evaluation form can address issues of much more substance. To start, review the three purposes of training evaluation and these tips for asking the right survey questions. Once you're clear on what kinds of statements and questions you need to include in order to gather the information that will be most useful, you can then work on crafting the language. For example, you'll want to ensure that your items are learner centered and phrased using terminology and language familiar to the learner, and that you're not asking more than one question at a time.

Now that you have collected the data, it is critical to
use it. If your training participants begin to feel that their opinions do not matter, this will take a toll on future evaluations, and you may find that you cease to get the truth on your training evaluation forms. It is also critical that participants feel comfortable providing honest feedback. An organization's closed culture may be reflected in evaluation feedback through lack of both robust comments and variations in ratings.

Finally, never fly blind! Always be sure to engage your 
active and passive training sonar to pick up on threats to your training program and to maximize training value both during and after training.

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Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program

Evaluating Training Programs

The New World Level 1 Reaction Sheets

Eight Tips on Developing Valid Level 1 Evaluation Forms
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Kirkpatrick Partners is a provider of training evaluation and business partnership training, products, consulting and impact studies. Our work is based on the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model created by Donald L. Kirkpatrick in 1954 as part of his PhD dissertation on the evaluation of the effectiveness of training for supervisors. It is expanded by the Kirkpatrick Business Partnership Model and Kirkpatrick Foundational Principles.

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