Press Release

ATD Research: Measuring Learning Program Effectiveness Is Challenging


The Association for Talent Development’s latest report finds that less than half of TD professionals rated their organizations as good or excellent at measuring the effectiveness of learning programs.

(Alexandria, VA), September 14, 2023—Measuring the impact of learning programs can be difficult and some organizations struggle with it, according to new research by the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

Eighty-seven percent of organizations found it difficult to isolate training impact. Other challenges included that training data was isolated from other data (82 percent); TD professionals didn’t have access to the data they needed to conduct high-level analysis (75 percent); and learning program participants didn’t cooperate when asked to provide evaluation data (73 percent), according to ATD’s Measuring Impact: Using Data to Understand Learning Programs, sponsored by Allego.

Organizations have access to a great deal of data. Still, according to this study, less than half of organizations (46 percent) provided data literacy learning opportunities for employees, and just 51 percent of organizations offered training on data analysis.

High-performing organizations—defined as organizations that performed as well or better than their competitors in financial performance, customer and client satisfaction, employee engagement, and growth potential for the next five years and agreed that their TD functions helped them achieve business goals—were significantly more likely to offer learning programs to employees on these topics than average-performing organizations:

  • Data literacy (66 percent compared with 41 percent)
  • Data analysis (71 percent compared with 46 percent)
  • Data privacy (91 percent compared with 75 percent)

To help organizations improve their ability to measure learning program effectiveness, ATD makes several resources and recommendations. One recommendation is to provide employees with opportunities to improve their data skills. Talent development professionals also may need additional training because more than one out of three respondents rated themselves as exploring or informed about data literacy skills, and almost one out of three said the same about their data analysis skills.


Other key findings include:

  • The most common evaluation framework used by organizations was Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation (71 percent).
  • The two most common ways to collect evaluation data were:

o Online surveys (92 percent) o Informal conversations (67 percent)

The research surveyed 222 talent development professionals and focused on the importance of being a data-driven organization and methods to measure the impact of learning programs, communicate results, and manage the challenges of measuring impact.


ATD will hold a free webinar about the report on Thursday, October 12, at 2 p.m.

About ATD

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. Established in 1943, the association was known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

ATD’s members come from more than 100 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD supports talent development professionals who gather locally in volunteer-led US chapters, international member networks, and with international strategic partners.

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