Evaluating Program Effectiveness | Training Requirements

To make sure that the training program is accomplishing its goals, an evaluation of the training can be valuable. Training should have, as one of its critical components, a method of measuring the effectiveness of the training. A plan for evaluating the training session(s), whether written or thought-out by the employer, should be developed when the course objectives and content are developed. It should not be delayed until the training has been completed. Evaluation will help employers or supervisors determine the amount of learning achieved and whether an employee's performance has improved on the job. Among the methods of evaluating training are:

  1. Student opinion. Questionnaires or informal discussions with employees can help employers determine the relevance and appropriateness of the training program;

  2. Supervisors' observations. Supervisors are in good positions to observe an employee's performance both before and after the training and note improvements or changes; and

  3. Workplace improvements. The ultimate success of a training program may be changes throughout the workplace that result in reduced injury or accident rates.

However it is conducted, an evaluation of training can give employers the information necessary to decide whether or not the employees achieved the desired results, and whether the training session should be offered again at some future date.

Improving the Program

If, after evaluation, it is clear that the training did not give the employees the level of knowledge and skill that was expected, then it may be necessary to revise the training program or provide periodic retraining. At this point, asking questions of employees and of those who conducted the training may be of some help. Among the questions that could be asked are:

  1. Were parts of the content already known and, therefore, unnecessary?

  2. What material was confusing or distracting?

  3. Was anything missing from the program?

  4. What did the employees learn, and what did they fail to learn?

It may be necessary to repeat steps in the training process, that is, to return to the first steps and retrace one's way through the training process. As the program is evaluated, the employer should ask:

  1. If a job analysis was conducted, was it accurate?

  2. Was any critical feature of the job overlooked?

  3. Were the important gaps in knowledge and skill included?

  4. Was material already known by the employees intentionally omitted?

  5. Were the instructional objectives presented clearly and concretely?

  6. Did the objectives state the level of acceptable performance that was expected of employees?

  7. Did the learning activity simulate the actual job?

  8. Was the learning activity appropriate for the kinds of knowledge and skills required on the job?

  9. When the training was presented, was the organization of the material and its meaning made clear?

  10. Were the employees motivated to learn?

  11. Were the employees allowed to participate actively in the training process?

  12. Was the employer's evaluation of the program thorough?

A critical examination of the steps in the training process will help employers to determine where course revision is necessary.

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