Are You Maximizing Your Passive Training Sonar Data? – Part 2

September 25, 2013

Military submarines use passive sonar to “listen” for nearby obstructions or threats. A long, sensitive cable called a towed array is stretched out behind a moving submarine and can pick up even slight sounds from the deep. Sonar operators on board listen through hydrophones to hear those sounds, be they molten rock, whales or another submarine.

Are you using passive sonar during and after training to check for progress and obstacles?

Passive sonar is sort of like eavesdropping — without making the training participants and graduates aware that they are being watched or listened to (e.g., “mystery shopper”), they are assessed for signs that they are responding as expected. Here are some specific ways that workplace learning and performance professionals (WLPs) can use passive sonar to their advantage:

Levels 1 and 2

The trainer or a dedicated observer can watch the class to see if participants: 

  • Seem to be listening and paying attention
  • Perform the activities
  • Ask questions
  • Participate in discussions
  • Display positive body language

Levels 3 and 4

WLPs can watch and listen for the following:

  • Supervisor, peer or WLP observation of training graduates performing the desired behaviors on the job
  • Participant comments about on-the-job application successes and challenges
  • Movement of leading indicators (Click to read more about leading indicators, and watch this video in which Jim discusses their importance.)
  • Attitude of training graduates, supervisors and stakeholders about the relative success of the initiative in contributing to organizational results.

It is important to let training graduates know that this type of evaluation will be used, especially once they return to work. This sets the stage for openness and increases the likelihood of application. For more about application of learned material, we recommend reading Transferring Learning to Behavior

Passive training evaluation sonar provides pieces that can be added to a chain of evidence showing the value of the training to the organization. Passive sonar findings alone are not enough, however, to create a strong chain of evidence of the value of training to the organization. Stay with us next week as we provide specific techniques for employing active training evaluation sonar. If you missed the last tip in this series, click here to read it.

The best way to learn all of the tips and techniques for applying the Kirkpatrick Model to your training evaluation is to attend the Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program. In the meantime, we invite you to view our free recorded webinar, Meaningful Training Evaluation: It Isn’t so Complicated.


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Additional Resources:

The first quick tip in this series

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program

Transferring Learning to Behavior

Meaningful Training Evaluation: It Isn’t so Complicated (recorded webinar)

Leading Indicators

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