Are You Maximizing Training Effectiveness?

October 12, 2011

Kirkpatrick Quick Tip #36

When initiatives are not performing as expected, there is typically disagreement about the purpose and role of training. The same can hold true for the entire learning and development function or department.

In these cases, it is wise to bring the training and development team together to discuss these issues until consensus is reached. We highly recommend decisions based on “training effectiveness” rather than “effective training”.

Effective training is what most learning professionals are familiar and concern themselves with in most cases. It is the delivery of training in such a way that it is well-received, and participants leave with the appropriate knowledge and skills.

Training effectiveness is what is supposed to happen after effective training takes place. It consists of the organizational results that occur when training graduates apply their knowledge and skill on the job, such that their performance contributes to bottom line or mission-critical results. It also includes the demonstration of the value that the training program and subsequent reinforcement brought to the organization overall.

Here is a sample agenda for a team meeting to discuss how to create training effectiveness, and avoid the allure of putting on “a good show”.

Sample Agenda

  • For each agenda item, discuss how training effectiveness can be maximized.

Current Training Development Process

  • Brief recap, if necessary
  • Start to finish, not just the training program itself

Possible Enhancements to Current Process (Select a few of these for your meeting)

  • Identifying and focusing on the most mission critical programs
  • Considering appropriate intervention options other than formal training
  • Supporting informal learning into the workplace
    • I.e. targeted blended learning and performance interventions
  • Pre-training and post-training follow-up methodologies
  • Practices of building the “bridge” between learning (L1/L2) and the business (L3/L4)
    • Activating the Business Partnership Model
  • Monitoring and measuring at each of the four levels
    • Hybrid methods that connect the levels through evaluation
    • Analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, and making prudent modifications
  • Reporting and demonstrating value to the business
  • Alignment of training, reinforcement, and evaluation efforts

Action Planning

Conducting a team meeting focused on training effectiveness will help distinguish the “signal” from the “noise” (i.e., which are value-added activities, and which are not). Make sure you create an action plan at the end of the meeting by determining priorities and setting deadlines. Finally, implement your plan, monitor and make adjustments along the way, and watch your team earn a seat at the strategic table

Additional resources:

Avoid the Allure of Training Activity

Kirkpatrick Four Levels™ Evaluation Certification Program

Training on Trial 

ROE’S Rising Star

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