Four Ways to Measure Training Results

Although it’s important to measure the effectiveness of training, many organizations don’t take the initiative to assess their training processes to see whether they have brought any positive impact to the organization.

According to a study carried out by the Association for Talent Development, or ATD (formerly the American Society of Training & Development, or ASTD), only 35 percent of talent-development professionals surveyed reported that their organizations evaluate the business impact of learning programs.

The same study noted that measuring the impact of training can encourage better work from employees and a better ability to prioritize and allocate resources. Measuring training results is beneficial in any business.

So, whether you use classroom training, e-learning, or a combination of both, measuring results will enable you to determine how effective the training was and see how you can improve your training methods.

Donald Kirkpatrick’s Classic Methods for Evaluating Training

Here are four methods to measure the results of any training. They were developed by Donald Kirkpatrick, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin and a past president of ATD.

He first published his Four-Level Training Evaluation Model in 1959, in the US Training and Development Journal. He had updated his model over the years, and published his best-known work, Evaluating Training Programs.

Level 1: Reaction

Through an analysis of participants’ reactions to the training, you can determine the level of satisfaction they derived and the relevance of the materials used.

Level 2: Learning

When we measure learning, the focus is on establishing the degree of skills, attitudes, and knowledge that trainees have received during a training session.

Level 3: Behavior

When behavior following the training is measured, it is done in the weeks and months following because it is not usually immediately apparent if behaviors are changing.

Level 4: Results

In level 4, the focus is to learn how the training you have presented impacts your business by measuring factors like increased sales and productivity and lower employee turnover.

Measure Your Overall ROI

However you measure your training’s effectiveness, the bottom line is to assess your overall return on investment. Compare the cost of the training with returns from sales and other metrics to evaluate the monetary value your organization is gaining after carrying out the training.

Using these qualitative and quantitative measures of your training program’s value will guide your decisions about future training. Measuring training results will keep you from wasting time, money, and effort on training that isn’t moving your company, agency, or firm forward.