BlogLearning & Development

How to Conduct an Effective Training Evaluation

Emily Mason
Writer, Learning and Development
Learning & Development
January 16, 2024

Master training evaluation with our guide: Discover key methods to assess effectiveness, enhance learning, and drive improvement.

Instructional Design Evaluation Template

Training evaluation is a crucial step in the full process to develop effective and helpful employee training

As a teacher, trainer, or manager, you’re used to sharing feedback with employees. But when the tables are turned, and it’s time to measure the outcomes of your own training courses, can you take the feedback yourself? 

We know… ‘evaluate your own training evaluation process’ is starting to sound very abstract! But stick with us! After walking through these steps, you’ll be ready to collect feedback on your training courses and assess learner performance for clear and data-informed ways to improve your content, courses, and learning paths.

5 Steps to Evaluate Training

Get started on the process to measure your training impact and training effectiveness. Work through these five key steps: 

1. Set Clear Objectives

Set clear objectives and a scope for your training evaluation. Are you looking specifically to increase your training ROI, or to improve the employee experience? Do you want to know if a course is accurately aimed at the right cohort of employees? Determine your objectives so you know what evaluation methods or KPIs to focus on. 

Recognize all of the stakeholders who are invested in great training outcomes. Learners, managers, department heads, the HR Team and C-suite leaders all have different expectations for training outcomes and should be considered in the process.

Pinpoint your success metrics, which could include: 

  • Acquiring new skills or knowledge
  • Employee satisfaction, happiness, and engagement rates 
  • Impact on company culture 
  • Impact on efficiency
  • Positive training ROI

Training Objectives

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2. Choose an Evaluation Model 

Training evaluation models can act like a checklist to be sure you look at all aspects of the program and all the different levels of training results. The Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation is a one widely used model to assess training outcomes. 

In a nutshell, the Kirkpatrick Model provides a holistic way to assess your training at 4 levels:

  • Reaction level focuses on the participants' immediate responses to the training. These concrete reactions can help you tweak things like content accuracy, relevance, or learning environment. 
  • Learning level evaluates whether the training program successfully conveyed the intended knowledge, skills, or attitudes. 
  • Behavior level assesses whether the participants have actually used their new knowledge, skills, or attitudes in their work environment.
  • Results level measures the overall impact of the training program on the organization's performance and desired outcomes for key business targets.

Other common evaluation models include the Phillips ROI model and the CIRO model

3. Gather Your Data 

This is the heart of the evaluation process. It’s time to look at available data and get direct feedback from your employees and instructors to shape and improve your training program. Use a combination of surveys, interviews, and focus groups to measure qualitative responses like attitudes and impressions.

Pair that with quantitative metrics like:

  • Pre-training performance metrics (baseline skills and starting performance)
  • Post-training performance metrics
  • Financial data like the cost of training vs gains in efficiency or closed deals

4. Evaluate As You Go 

You can gain valuable insights about your training course at every step of the process, so evaluate at strategic points along the way. This helps trainers to pinpoint areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments.

Ask these questions before, during, and after you deliver employee training to check your blind spots:

Before

  • Will this course teach concrete skills to learners?
  • Have we seen success with these methods before? 
  • Have we catered to different learning styles and preferences? 
  • Are the assignments and timeframe of the course realistic?  

During

  • How well are learners staying on track? 
  • Can they summarize the main thing(s) they’ve learned at the halfway point? 
  • What are their initial thoughts and reactions to the course content and delivery?

After 

  • What percentage of learners completed the course? How many were successful in the assessments? 
  • Can you think of ways to use these skills in the near future? 
  • Did the learners enjoy the training? 
  • What parts do they think could be improved? 

TIP: Don’t forget that post-training evaluations are just as important to assess the long-term impact of the training on employees’ performance. This is the only way to get a long-term perspective on whether your training is working or not.

5. Analyze & Implement Your Findings 

Take action on the things you learned during your evaluation. This could include adding or removing courses from a sequence, editing your content, adding new modules, or swapping out an ineffective assessment.

Communicate your changes with employees so that they can see improvements you’ve made based on their feedback and participation. You may also need to prepare a formal report on your findings to share with the stakeholders you identified in step one. If so, highlight the data that will be most relevant to them, along with your strategic recommendations for how to tweak or change the course or program. 

Repeat these steps as necessary for different learning paths, onboarding sequences, or required training in your organization.

Biggest Benefits of Employee Training Evaluation

The training evaluation process is well worth your time and efforts. Here are six reasons why:

1. Improves Your Training Programs

If you’re here reading, then you’re probably committed to improving your training strategy! The self-reflective process is guaranteed to show you concrete ways you can tweak or enhance your courses, content, and delivery methods. 

2. Boosts Training ROI

We all love the intrinsic value and motivation of learning. But when training budgets run into six figures or more, you can’t keep going with a program that isn’t working. Training evaluation helps you to redirect your budgets toward the courses or strategies that are working the best, improving the ROI of training

3. Levels-up Your Team

Direct feedback from learners and instructors will show you the opportunities to add or change courses and provide highly-requested upskilling opportunities for your teams. 

4. Better Employee Performance

Training impact will show up in how well your employees integrate their learning, and in their confidence and performance levels on the job. 

5. Generates Data-Driven Decisions

The evaluation process gives you concrete data like learner engagement rates, quiz results, and the average length of time it took learners to complete the course. Interpret these to decide what’s working and what’s not. 

6. Identifies Skill Gaps

Training evaluation reveals the sections of a course that didn’t achieve their objective so you can tailor future training to address these areas.

7. Defends Your Budget 

Regular evaluation with concrete findings can help you to prove that business investments into training are well worth it. 

4 Ways to Use an LMS for Training Evaluations 

LMS platforms weave training evaluation methods right into your wider L&D strategy. Here are four ways that Continu helps administrators to save time and level up their employee training: 

  1. Continu can automatically send surveys or feedback forms to learners right after a training session or workshop. This captures their initial reactions to the content and overall experience. 
  2. Continu offers a wide selection of quizzes, tests, and interactive activities to use as checkpoints into your courses to measure how well your learners understood the concepts or skills. The LMS automatically grades those assessments so administrators can see results and trends over time. 
  3. Continu makes it easy to schedule follow-on courses or assign struggling learners to retake a module or course. You can also use the LMS to automatically re-enroll learners for refresher courses. 
  4. Continu integrates with systems like your CRM or HRIS to track and measure the impact of training on important KPIs for your business, like sales performance, customer satisfaction scores, productivity metrics, and more.

Continu reading: The Best Training Tracking Software for your Business

Better Training Starts With Evaluation 

The evaluation process can seem daunting at first, but it’s a process and mindset that will continuously improve your training program over time. Embrace our five steps – lay your foundation, use an evaluation model to cover all your bases, gather feedback, analyze and implement changes, and evaluate as you go – to be sure you’re getting the most out of every minute and dollar spent on employee training. Keep refining, keep questioning, and you’ll see stronger results as you apply your insights.

Continu makes training evaluation a regular part of your L&D process with assessment methods and reporting features woven right into the platform. 

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About the Author
Emily Mason is the Content Writer at Continu.
Emily Mason
Writer, Learning and Development

Emily is a copywriter and content marketer specializing in Learning and Development. Emily is currently based in West Michigan. She loves words, coffee, and walking by the lake.