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The Logic Behind Training Evaluation

Apr 17, 2008
It is not out of the ordinary for businesses to venture into holding training programs for their employees, both old and new. This is because there are just so many new things, like, methods, procedures, and technologies alike, popping all over the business world. Moreover, the implementation of these new methods or procedures, as well as the usage of these new technologies, can bring forth a lot of advancement and improvement in the company. Thus, it is of much importance for businesses to hold training programs and sessions for their employees when deemed needed. And in ensuring the effectiveness of these training sessions, it is then important for businesses to undergo training evaluation.

Training evaluation actually refers to the process of scrutinizing all aspects of training sessions held by businesses. After all, training programs and sessions are given so that the members of a company's workforce would acquire new job skills or enhance the present ones needed in performing certain tasks that come with their jobs. To make sure that these training programs do fulfill their purpose, there should then be training evaluation; and this is not done without the use of training metrics.

There is actually a method of training evaluation introduced by Donald Kirkpatrick in 1994 that is being used by many companies today. This method is comprised of four levels.

The first level focuses on the reactions of the participants of the training program. It is at this level that the perceptions of the participants regarding the training program are measured by the managers themselves. This stage is very important towards achieving improvement for both the participants and the organization as a whole. If the perceptions and the reactions of the participants towards the training sessions are negative to begin with, then there is not much hope for positive outcome.

The second level focuses on just how much the participants have learned from the training sessions. What's assessed here is the absorption of the skills taught, as well as the knowledge or competencies gained from the completed training sessions. To accurately measure this, a pre-test should then be conducted before training takes place. This is to determine to what extent the knowledge of the participants is regarding the topic of the whole training program. After the program is completed, a post-test is then conducted. If there is significant improvement upon weighing the past and present scores, then new skills and competencies have definitely been learned and acquired.

The third level is termed as the transfer level. This focuses on measuring the behavioral changes of the participants in response to the knowledge acquired from the training program. It is at this level where managers can see for themselves how the participants apply their new skills or knowledge in the typical work or office setting. This is actually the level where the efficiency of training is ultimately tested.

The fourth level focuses on the contribution brought about by training to the whole of the organization. How have the newly acquired skills and knowledge contributed to the overall welfare of the company? This level focuses on the rate of success of training itself.

With this 4-level model designed by Kirkpatrick, training evaluation definitely becomes easier to process. Moreover, companies should never forego the evaluation of their training programs to ensure that their programs are indeed effective.
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