I wanted to jot down my thoughts on something I've decided to do for a one-off "pilot" training course I'm running. The course by it's very nature is purposely designed to have an influence on a particular aspect of business performance for one of our venues.
Do we honestly always evaluate?
The first thing to say is if I'm honest, I'm guilty from time to time of not building in evaluation methods at every level of Kirkpatricks Evaluation Model for every single piece of training I do. I'm sure we can all put our hands up to that one. But because this particular piece of training is so obviously linked to performance, it's really important that I pick my game up for this one.
Evaluating behaviour changes (level 3) and results changes (level 4)
So I've put some things in place for the managers to observe the changes in behaviour (Level 3 of Kirkpatrick's Model) over the weeks that follow the training. I've also done some benchmarking before and after (Level 4 of Kirkpatrick's Model) on the Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) that this training is likely to have an effect on. These two alone are going to demonstrate return on expectations (ROE) in a positive light (fingers crossed).
Evaluating reactions (level 1) and learning (level 2)
So, turning my attention to the reaction (Level 1) I've again wanted to do some benchmarking here, mainly around confidence. Before the training starts I want to ask the question, on a scale of 1-10 how confident are you with..... and then after the training repeat the same question to demonstrate (hopefully) some upturn in levels of confidence.
I begun designing an evaluation form. Knowing that I wanted the confidence question answering right at the beginning started to do some thinking around how best to do this. So I designed a form that asks the confidence question, along with some other Level 1 questions - how has the training helped with..., what else do you think this training should include.... etc. I've also put in some knowledge and learning (Level 2) questions in there too such as give an example of....., describe the benefits of..... etc
Give the form out at the end, or perhaps at the beginning?
But, here's what's especially different in my approach this time. Instead of waiting till the end of the training (where people are wanting to just get out the door) before giving them this form, I'm going to give it to them at the beginning of the session. What this will do is not only allow me to benchmark the confidence question, but also to get them thinking about the evaluation of the training throughout the training, rather than racing to complete it at the end. The Level 2 learning questions, some might say, MUST be done at the end. But as we know, the process of writing down responses to questions is a great way of enforcing learning anyway and maybe should be done throughout rather than a test at the end. We're talking here a subject where that this test of learning isn't a pass or fail thing and I appreciate there are some topics that this approach may not suit.
So the learning for me here is, at the beginning of our training sessions, if we reveal from the very start what feedback we're going to be asking for at the end, and encourage people to think about these areas throughout, would that make it easier for us to get a better level of reaction level evaluation than those rushed tick in the box responses we usually get.
I shall let you know...!