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Why Training Metrics Are Important

Jan 15, 2008
Many companies invest a lot of their time and resources on their people. Training programs are often organized to expand the knowledge and skills of employees. To evaluate how effective these programs are, training metrics are developed.

Training is commonly described as the process of acquiring knowledge, competencies and skills. At present, many have recognized the fact that sufficient investments should be allotted for training programs or professional development programs in order to get more productivity from the workforce. Training can be classified as off-the-job or on-the-job training. Venues for off-the-job trainings are usually away from the normal workplace. This is advantageous since trainees are more able to concentrate on the training material this way. Meanwhile, on-the-job training is given within the workplace and usually involves the use of actual equipment, tools, and documents. This kind of training is said to be more effective for vocational trainings.

According to Dr. John Sullivan, Head and Professor of the College of Business of San Francisco State University, there are various ways of measuring and evaluating training programs. They can be measured prior to training through the number of people who say that they need such training as well as the number of people who signs up for one. Training may also be measured at the end of training through the number of training attendees, customer satisfaction of attendees, measurable change in knowledge or skill after the training program and the willingness of attendees to use what they learn from the training. Training may also be assessed through delayed impact or through a notable change in job behavior and job performance. Other measures of training are satisfaction and approval of top management, number of training referrals by those who have already attended a training program, the additional number of attendees trained by previous program attendees and the popularity of a particular training program as compared to others. Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick also pioneered the Kirkpatrick model which features four levels of training evaluation. The reaction level focuses on feedback from training participants. The learning level and behavior level dwell on how knowledge, skill and behavior are changed after training. Finally, the result level refers to the return on investment from these training programs.

Management experts contend that there is a relationship between training and employee turnover. Similarly, a relationship between customer satisfaction and employee development exists. In order to understand the relationship of these factors, certain metrics would have to be developed. This way, it becomes easier to decide where and how to obtain pertinent data. Today, companies use learning management systems that allow them to link data on business performance and data on training or employee development. Measures for training programs may vary from one organization to another. Training metrics may be classified under one of four distinct groups namely; statistical, financial, business intelligence and performance. Some of the most common training metrics are abandonment rate, training course efficiency, applicability ratio, skills effectiveness and appropriateness ratio. These metrics may be based on the percentage of training participants who abandon and accomplish a particular training course.
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