In tough economic times, training budgets are one of the first items to be reduced or cut altogether. Because of that, training must constantly reinvent itself and transcend the classroom to earn its budget and maintain its existence.
Creating an effective training evaluation plan will show the organizational value of your work. An effective plan will ensure that your valuable, limited resources are dedicated to the programs that will create the most impact.
Many may consider an effective training program to be one that is well-received and provides key information. However, as James and Wendy Kirkpatrick point out in “The Four Levels of Evaluation—An Update,” their February 2015 TD at Work, “More savvy training professionals realize that even the most well-designed and well-received training programs are of little use unless what is learned in training gets implemented on the job.”
During Levels 1 and 2, reaction and learning, of the Kirkpatrick Four Levels of Evaluation, results are measured by the degree to which participants react favorably to the learning event, and the extent they acquire the intended knowledge and skills based on their participation in the learning event, respectively.
Level 3, behavior, relates to what degree participants apply what they learned during training, when they are back on the job. The New World Level 3 behavior consists of three components: critical behaviors, required drivers, and on-the-job learning.
Critical Behaviors: These are the few specific actions that, if performed consistently on the job, will have the greatest impact on organizational success. Two examples are conducting weekly team meetings to document project status and next steps, and completing safety tests to standard.
Required Drivers: Required drivers are “processes and systems that reinforce, monitor, encourage, and reward performance of critical behaviors on the job.” These are critical to accomplishing what was learned during training on the job. Job aids, coaching, and recognition are examples of required drivers that reinforce, encourage, and reward desired actions.
On-the-Job Learning: On-the-job learning gives employees an opportunity to share the responsibility for good performance. Creating a culture and an expectation that individuals are responsible for keeping skills sharp will encourage employees to be accountable as well as feel empowered.
Finally, Level 4, results, is the degree to which targeted outcomes occur as a result of the learning event and subsequent reinforcement.