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LEARNING MANAGEMENT

Spring a pop quiz for your training program

By Doug Striker

Remember tests in school? Pop tests? Quizzes? And the dreaded finals? As students, they were the bane of our existence. As trainers, however, we need to test ourselves and our programs constantly. If they aren’t working, our offices may fall behind. And that is a big deal. It is critical that you know how to evaluate your training program. (I know our teachers thought diagramming sentences was a big deal, too, but I’m thinking this might be bigger.)

But do you know how to evaluate your training program? Often, our training is so uber-responsive to staff needs that we hardly have time to be strategic about the future, let alone what we’ve achieved in the past.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, with just a wee bit of planning and forethought, you could be looking at monthly, quarterly and annual reports that help you determine exactly how effective you’re being and how much your office is advancing thanks to your efforts.

How to evaluate your training program

Here are some steps and Ideas to get you started:

1. Decide what you want to measure: This is perhaps the most important step. You need to figure out what impact you’re trying to achieve. There may be several indicators that you’d like to measure, such as:

  • Reduced help desk calls: easily measured
  • Increased self-driven access to your Learning Management System (which would indicate that people know how to train themselves); your LMS should provide this information at the touch of a button
  • Increased productivity: this is harder to measure but if you build a partnership with the office manager or COO, I’m certain they will be able to provide their own measurement techniques for productivity. You can tag-team on their goals and use training to improve efficiency and productivity

2. Once you know what you want to measure, set benchmarks, such as: 

  • Percentage drop in help desk calls
  • Percentage increase in LMS usage
  • Percentage of the change in output

3. Measure your success against your goals, such as: 

  • Have help desk calls decreased? Also, are there particular training areas (i.e. Microsoft PowerPoint) that have seen a marked decrease since a particular webinar or class training?
  • Have people been accessing the LMS on their own? An LMS should easily be able to tell you whether there has been an increase in usage (and what areas are attracting the most users). This type of behavior change impacts not only their productivity, but also your time. That’s a measurable achievement!
  • Has your word processing staff been able to produce more thanks to time-saving tips you’ve shared with them? Work with their manager to establish and measure these outcomes.
  • ROI impact. Here’s the really cool thing about measuring your impact: you can tie it to savings and a return-on-investment (ROI) for your training program. This is the piece that will ultimately increase your value at the office. If you can directly tie the above measurements to cost savings, you will suddenly see the bean-counters’ eyes light up with understanding of why training is important!
  • Help desk improvements: What is the help desk professional’s hourly rate? Even a salaried, on-staff help desk professional (or IT staffer who has to cover the phones) can figure out how much he/she makes an hour and then evaluate month-to-month how many hours they spend on the phones, translating that into a dollar figure.
  • LMS usage: Imagine an professional who charges $500 per hour having to sit through a classroom training or one-hour webinar. That’s a huge loss. Instead, that professional uses the LMS to access the exact information he/she needs in 10 to 15 minutes. That’s a direct savings for the office.
  • Data entry improvements: The faster the billing staffers can work, the more they achieve. There are many ways you might work with another manager to measure this output and place value on it. Again, you need to establish a long-term relationship with the proper executive to determine the impact of your trainings. (This will likely also lead to a better understanding of the team’s needs, creating a snowball effect of positive impact!)

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