Determining The Value Of Your Training With 4 Levels

Determining The Value Of Your Training With 4 Levels
Summary: Come along for a quick read on how you too can put a value on your training and perhaps even a dollar amount to wow your stakeholders.

How To Determine The Value Of Your Training With 4 Levels

Let’s face it. At some point in time, most companies are going to have the need to develop in-house training. In design career, you may have encountered a number of different types of training. But regardless of the subject matter, the bottom line revolves around money (either to increase revenue or decrease costs). And, with that in mind, it is a very safe bet to assume that the stakeholders and sponsors (the ones flipping the bill for the training) are interested in that one thing too; money. They are probably very interested to know how well the training you developed will ultimately bring the business in more money or reduce costs through evaluation, right? So if you created a training course on how to use new software, they’d want to know if the employees could actually use the system after completing the training.

All in all, stakeholders and sponsors typically want to see evidence that the training you are developing for the firm has worked through some type of measurable proof. So how do you do this, you ask? Well, believe it or not, there is a fairly easy method and it revolves around 4 levels of the Kirkpatrick Model.

Whether you remember seeing, reviewing, or studying these levels at some point in your career, or you’re asking yourself “isn’t the Kirkpatrick Model some promotional girl for an Irish beer?”; either way, these 4 simple levels can help you determine the value of your training to go one step further and ultimately put a dollar sign on it.

1. Reaction

This is the first level and is the most basic in reviewing how well your training went. Surveys (smiley sheets) after class are an example of this. Learners usually write what they gained from the course that you put together and gives an insight and buy in of the learner’s experience in the class. Here are some more examples of Reaction Level (remember, this is the basic level of determining how well your training did).

Surveys and questionnaires. One-on-One interview the class (can be used on first or second pilot to get good feedback).
Action plans asking learner how they plan to use the material they learned. Focus groups used when learners hear other learners talk about the training and they chime in.

2. Learning

A step up in terms of evaluation from level 1, this level measures the attitudes, knowledge and skills developed as a result of the training. Post-tests, simulations, or hands-on assignments fall into this category. Learners attending a class on implementing effective meetings might create a simple meeting agenda as part of this second level. Here are some more examples:

Surveys and questionnaires that determine the extent to which learners acquired the knowledge and skills. Performance and simulation demo where learners actually demonstrate the ability to apply the new knowledge or skill.
Ratings from facilitators based on observations during the training. Assessments, pre/posttests, exercises demonstrating the change in knowledge/skill/problem-solving skills – this can also be in a team or group breakout session.

3. Behavior

At this level, evaluation peers into whether learners apply the training back on the job. Along with level 4 (below), it can help in establishing the ‘business value’ that training has added to the organization. Examples include:

Quality spot inspections. Periodic review of newly implemented procedures such as using a new template correctly.
Using newly re-engineered equipment on the job from what was taught in the classroom.

4. Results

This fourth level evaluation determines whether the training program goals were met and what business results have been achieved. For example, a goal for training on packaging shipments correctly might be to reduce damaged items by 15%. Additional examples might be to analyze:

Productivity and output rates. Employee turnover or attrition rates.
Sales volumes. Customer retention rates.
Reduce customer complaints. In-store theft rates.
Rate of on the job accidents in a quarter. Employee absenteeism’s per month.

Results from a combination of levels can provide important data that may either support any conclusions drawn about the outcome of the training and/or help to diagnose potential causes where there has previously been little or none.

It’s important to note that using the Kirkpatrick Method to help put a value to your training is not a replacement for a more solid entire evaluation such as determining ROI (Return on Investment). However, this is a simple method to use to get a glimpse into the effectiveness of your training.

All in all, a training measurement can really be a vital piece of the overall learning initiative, can set you up for continuous future training endeavors and ultimately make you an Instructional Designer rock star within the company.

To read more about putting a dollar value on training, I encourage you to read the article Assessing Return On Investment Of eLearning.