How to evaluate the impact of online employee training?
Savvy employers would be right to wonder how they can determine the quality of online learning once they have put recruits through the initial phases of onboarding and education about the company. After employers have set the organization’s aims and objectives, designed training strategy, identified training needs and implemented training strategies, it is time to evaluate and validate the efficacy of training efforts.
It is clear that all the education in the world will do no good without an adequate feedback mechanism in place. After all, what is the point of teaching if trainers cannot measure how well learners are absorbing information and applying what they know to new problems? There might be a problem with the way the material is being conveyed, or the issue could be with how the learner has been trained to learn; among many other problems that may be present.
Why train employees online?
Online employee training is helping organizations with recruitment and retention, increasing employee satisfaction and also is enabling employees to learn at their own pace and convenience. Online training has the following benefits:
- Flexibility and Reach: Employees who have more flexibility in their schedule can learn at their own pace and in surroundings that are most comfortable to them, noted a report from eLearning Industry. Also, employees present in any part of the globe can take part in training efforts, without leaving their geographies, online.
- Collaboration and Research: The ability of workers to do research and collaborate with one another via the online learning portal is advantageous because they can access expert information and resources at any time to solve problems.
- Time and Cost: More than ever, organizations want to save overall time and cost spent on training and ensure that their employees, learn on their desks as quickly as possible. Training at their desk would also give employees the opportunity to implement the learning, while at work. Also, it is easy to receive information about changes in an organization’s product/services online as it goes directly to the recipient and can be consumed immediately.
Today’s employees have a strong desire to continue learning while on the job, and they welcome the opportunity to keep learning so they can do better work. They are already accustomed to doing research and solving problems with online tools, so the transition to an organization’s online training platform should be smooth for them.
Why Training Evaluation and Measurement is important?
Organizations get the best return on their online employee training investment when the Training and Development department, mandate that this training must be measured. Training aims to bring about a positive change in the following parameters
- Individual/team knowledge attitude and skills
- Individual/team performance
- Organizational performance
- Learning transfer/successful application of knowledge in the workplace
Post-training assessment verifies if training modules are sound or they indicate that training modules need to be modified or improved. For example, questions on tests should match what employees are doing in the real world, noted Convergence Training.
The benchmarks that the T&D department establishes for considering whether an employee has absorbed all of the information that the trainer provided will be the objective; so that the workers can see where they are deficient so they can retrain and get things right.
How to evaluating employee training effectiveness?
The most popular model of assessment is the Kirkpatrick evaluation Model. The standard process is to evaluate the training program against the points outlined by Kirkpatrick which are as follows:
- The reaction of trainees – Trainers, can check the impact of training at the outset, through the response of employees. Employee satisfaction is measured first because it is easily the most basic type of evaluation the trainer can assess. This typically involves a trainer distributing a survey at the end of the module to determine each participant’s reaction. Common questions used in this assessment include asking if the employees enjoyed the training and if they found the course was a reasonable use of their time. Trainers will find out if employees find the content was relevant to their job description and whether they would recommend other colleagues take the course.
- Learning— Trainers can assess training through assessing what the employee has learned during the training. Trainers need to see how well employees are taking in and holding onto new knowledge. Those who need to fill in gaps can continue learning, while those employees who did acquire what trainers sought to teach them could become mentors and help the organization train new workers. Ask specific questions to verify the worker understand the material, such as providing examples to support their responses.
- Behavior— Trainers can evaluate if the learning has translated into a change in behavior. Let’s say that an organization has a customer sales reps training online. Trainees will need to demonstrate a difference in their response after finishing the training course. A LiveseySolar report suggests that the trainer conduct some mystery calls to test how they respond to customer inquiries (are they polite, do the trainees let the caller speak without interruption, do they offer a friendly solution to the problem, and so on).
- Results– Trainers can analyze data from evaluations against profit earned by the organization. The training that is being provided to each worker is more than about filling their minds. Training outcomes/results must demonstrate to various organization stakeholders that training is leading to business improvements. Key performance indicators or KPIs will take into account goals that the organization has chalked out to boost business. Examples of how to measure training success include a significant increase in sales during the next quarter, 20% increase in people appearing in the lead building lists and 7% more conversions from people calling in to ask for a consultation.
For the costs and hours involved in online employee training to justify itself, training outcomes will need to demonstrate a significant return on investment. What this means is recording how much it costs to take the course, how much you must pay in facilities fees and any staff wages that were used for course taking instead of time spent at work. The cost is often referred to as an opportunity cost of staff time during mandatory training. These costs are then compared to the profit made by the organization.
Types of Assessments – Evaluating employee training:
Many organizations use the Kirkpatrick model to evaluate training, and many other organizations prefer to customize evaluations as per their systems and processes. However, ultimately the real test of training is to ensure that the employee is equipped with knowledge that he/she can apply to their work which will, in turn, ensure an organization’s survival and profitability.
Many methods can be used to evaluate and assess. They are as follows:
- Post Training Quizzes– A great way to find out how much the employees liked/ disliked would be to take short quizzes post the training session.
- One-to-one/ focus group discussions– One-to-one discussions or focus group discussions give insights into how effective the training has been for the employees. The trainers will be able to evaluate in-depth, the events at work that helped employees to showcase what they learned during the training, on their job.
- Employee Surveys— Surveys are very popular and one of the earliest methods of evaluations that were employed to gather data on employee learning from the training conducted. Here many employees are given the same questionnaire to fill out. This method is suitable for taking feedback in training sessions with large attendance numbers.
- Case Studies– Trainers can use case studies to examine if the employee has been able to learn what was taught at training.
- Certification Exams— Learners who are mostly being trained in a software or a product use may be given certification to prove that they have acquired knowledge with regards to the service/product.
- Data Analysis– Having an online training module gives trainers access to loads of data that can help trainers understand subtle cues of employee behavior, preferences, knowledge, and ability to learn. With an online training module access to data is instant and analysis is done on time for better impact and assessment of training efforts.
The process for assessing employees and getting feedback should be done compulsorily. According to a report from eLearning Industry, “Evaluating your online training program is essential; only by doing so you can measure the effectiveness of your training outcomes.”
For example, trainers can try being more concise in their assessment questions, because long sentences tend to frustrate employees, even to the point of them providing false answers just to get through the assessment. Another way is to use variety, in keeping with adopting a learner-centered approach to online employee instruction. Trainers can use multiple-choice questions for some aspects of the training, mixed in with yes/no and true/false questions. The variety of evaluation methods will improve the assessment process because trainers will get more perspectives on how they learned (or didn’t learn, as the case may be).
Launching an online employee learning program will, therefore, be most useful only after trainers have established a process to assess the level of learning after employees have finished their studies.