Training is important in the workplace; it makes for more engaged workers, it improves productivity and leads to higher staff retention rates.
As a result, the spend on training programs by organisations is increasing. However to ensure that they are delivering, training programs should be augmented with a training effectiveness survey.
Once you have arranged for a training, determined what the objectives are, what outcomes you anticipate and you have your participants ready, there is one more thing you need to tick off your list and that is a training effectiveness survey. It is a set of questions that participants of a training and those who work closely with them can answer after a training is done.
Why you should carry out a training effectiveness survey
To measure the effectiveness of a training
The first reason to carry a training effectiveness survey is to gauge how well the training went. Questions asked in the survey can reveal what participants liked or didn’t like about the training. It can show what improvements need to be made to make future trainings better or more relevant.
An effectiveness survey should be done immediately and sometimes, a set period after the training has been conducted. This way, it is possible to get information while participants’ memory is still fresh and to measure the long term effects of a training.
It helps to clarify training objectives
A survey will give you data that shows clearly what the training objectives should be. It is one thing to assume what your employees need, it is a different one to see the evidence in hard numbers. This can also help those in charge of employee development make a data backed case to higher management for spend on training programs.
Improve future training
Carry out a survey in order to make future trainings better and more effective. The answers revealed will prevent trainers and organisers from making the same mistakes over and over. A training effectiveness survey will help to reveal training gaps and where employees actually need help.
Know whether participants understood
A training effectiveness survey will help to reveal whether knowledge was imparted to trainees. While it is not an exam, a survey will show whether the training was suitable for the participants and if they have grasped the information.
Increase attendance of training
Trainings will only be effective if employees participate freely. By asking for their feedback and effecting it, you will make trainings attractive to and of value to those they are intended for.
Is the training worth it?
Is a training delivering a good return on investment? As employers are spending more to train, a training effectiveness survey will help you answer this question. If it was a training to drive behaviour change, those who supervise the people trained should be surveyed as well.
The goal here is to learn whether there is a change after the training. The survey should be done to see if there are valuable outcomes, whether you should continue to spend on that training or if it is time to adopt a new one altogether.
How to effectively assess a training program
Now that you know the benefits of a training effectiveness survey, there is the issue of how to administer an effective one. The Kirkpatrick evaluation model offers 4 broad steps on doing this.
The Kirkpatrick evaluation model
A university professor developed a 4 level method to help measure the effectiveness of corporate training programs. By using his model, or modelling your questions after it, you can get more out of your surveys.
Level 1-Reaction. This measures the relevance and usefulness of the training to the learners.
Level 2-Learning. This measures the skills and knowledge gained as a result of the training.
Level 3-Behaviour. Here, you measure how the training has impacted the learner’s performance or attitude.
Level 4-Results.Measure the tangible results of the training such as reduced cost, improved quality increased productivity and higher morale
The steps below can offer more guidance on how to effectively assess a training program.
Know your KPIs
Start off on the right foot by outlining the Key Performance Indicators beforehand. These should clearly identify what the current situation is and what success should look like. That can be anything from improved positive reviews from customers to a shorter turnaround time on product delivery.
Do a pre-training assessment
This will work as a baseline and show what employees know and don’t know. When you compare their feedback from the training effectiveness survey, you will be able to see if there has been a desired change.
Don’t wait for the training to end
Engage with learners as they are working. This might mean doing a quick assessment after every module or session. This will give you more feedback to work with at the end of the training.
What your training effectiveness survey could look like
A training effectiveness survey can be conducted in a number of ways including open feedback, one-on-one conversations and paper assessments. However, survey software can make the process seamless.
To improve the response rate, ensure that the survey is not too lengthy, questions are clear and allow room for people to explain more if they need to.
There is a lot that the survey can seek to learn, from how effective a trainer was, to the relevance of the content covered and the preparation work done before the training. Here are just 3 questions you can include in your survey.
How would you rate the quality of the instructor?
This is a question that needs to be qualified so avail respondents with multiple options.
They can rate the instructor on pace of training and content knowledge, to name a few.
Did you learn anything new?
This question is a great way to gauge if the training was relevant. It will reveal whether those who planned the training did their due diligence in assessing the training needs of participants.
Do you have any suggestions to improve the training?
While the question before is focused on the content needs, this question seeks to learn about other aspects of the training.
A training effectiveness survey needs to be planned for at the same time as any training is being prepared. Beyond helping to clarify the goals and desired outcomes of the training, it will ensure that any future trainings are done in the most effective way.