|Evaluation is an important, yet sometimes overlooked, part of training. It provides the crucial feedback needed to determine your session’s effectiveness. Without assessment, it’s difficult to determine whether training objectives were met, if sessions matched the skill sets of attendees and what, if any, changes should be made going forward.If you’re looking for some practical advice on evaluating your nonprofit training sessions, keep reading. This newsletter describes various methods trainers use to obtain and apply feedback to refine future trainings.Evaluation techniques for excellent training Providing excellent training involves making it worth the valuable time of those who attend. And what better way to determine your training’s success than through training evaluation. Here are three evaluation techniques you can use to assess and refine your next training session:|
- Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels: Perhaps one of the more popular frameworks of training evaluation is The Kirkpatrick Model, a four level method of gauging training effectiveness. It is a widely used technique for determining both the effectiveness and impact of training, and it does so by analyzing and measuring four distinct levels: reaction, learning, behaviour and results. In level one, reaction, basic feedback about a participant’s satisfaction is acquired—similar to an end-of-class survey or questionnaire. Level two goes a step further and measures what a participant has learned. This is most easily obtained by defining objectives ahead of time and then measuring your trainee’s newfound knowledge against these objectives—perhaps through a pre- and post-session test or quiz. During level three, assess behaviour and whether or not the skills obtained in your session are being used on the job. This type of assessment would pull not only from the experiences of the trainee, but also from whom they report to, and who reports to them. Finally, level four measures results, or the training’s effect on the organization’s key performance indicators.
- Formative evaluation: A second measurement technique of training effectiveness can be obtained through formative evaluations. Nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter describes multiple methods she uses where participants are asked to reflect on what they learned and how they will apply it. This is done by soliciting positive and constructive criticisms, a technique known as Plus/Delta. Kanter suggests a couple methods to obtain this type of feedback: trainees can use an index card, writing positive comments on one side and criticisms on the other. Or, a piece of letter-sized paper can be folded into four sections—each quadrant can be used to answer the following questions: What was interesting? What will you put into practice as a result of the workshop? What was most useful? What would you change? Encourage participation by holding a draw for those who provide feedback. A Titan Speaker Stand or Small Tech Trap make nice choices.
- Simple surveys: A simple evaluation should not be overlooked as an effective way of obtaining feedback. This technique can be helpful in assessing both the instructor’s facilitation skills and whether or not the training’s learning objectives were met. A simple lineup of statements that trainees can either agree or disagree to works well. And don’t forget to show gratitude to those who participated in your training and provided their valuable feedback. A pair of Retractable Coloured Ear Buds, a Phone Buddie with Stylus Pen or a USB hub all make great thank-yous.
Now that you have the tools to obtain feedback, use them. Take the time to review the results of your evaluations to determine what you did well, what could be improved upon and what should be eliminated altogether. It will be time well spent. Reaves-Powers, Caroline. “The Importance of Training Evaluations.” Catapult Business Training. 4 Sept. 2013. Web. 19 May 2014. “Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model.” MindTools. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 19 May 2014. Kanter, Beth. “Six Tips for Evaluating Your Nonprofit Training Session.” BethKanter.org. 18 Feb. 2014. Web. Retrieved 19 May 2014.