Evaluating Learning & Development Activities

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Evaluating Learning & Development Activities

Welcome, L&D team, to today’s Lunch & Learn. I hope you’ve enjoyed your lunch, now for the learning. We’ll be discussing the benefits of evaluating L&D activities and this handout covers 5 points:

1. Glossary of terms
2. Defining the purpose of evaluation (stakeholders’ perspective) 3. Return on Investment and how it can be measured (example included) 4. Approaches to evaluation
5. Evaluation tools

1. Glossary

Validation, put simply, is establishing if a learning intervention achieved its goals and objectives. Has it delivered against the stated objectives? For example has a Telephone Techniques course delivered training on Telephone Techniques or has it simply given staff the opportunity to moan about the telephone system?

Assessment is an individual act of measuring an individual’s progress – has learning taken place? This could be through testing, role-play, observation etc. Have learners taken something away from the learning intervention that makes a difference to how they work?

Monitoring is the regular and ongoing tracking of a learner’s progress. This could include review meetings with the learner’s line manager and review of performance using validation and assessment data.

Evaluation is all of this; is learning taking place, is the learning suitable, useful, interesting, delivering what is expected and adding value to the business? Evaluation is an ongoing process, which ideally begins prior to delivery, to ensure that we’re delivering top-notch training and development across the whole range of learning interventions we offer.

2. Defining evaluation from the stakeholders’ perspective

“it is best to ‘cast the net’ widely at the start of any project to ensure no one who can affect the success of the project is ignored” (Ward and Daniel, 2006, p. 217)

Whilst that quote is from a project management angle it explains why we need to involve stakeholders. But why are stakeholders interested in evaluation?

Trainees| Line managers| L&D Team|
Is the training a good use of their time?| Is the training a good use of their staff members’ time?| Is the training fulfilling the learning needs?| What learning are they achieving?| What learning ate they achieving?| What learning are the participants’ achieving?| Clarification of achievements against objectives from PDP.| How does the learning relate to the organisation’s strategic plan?| Is the delivery working in terms of materials, content, trainers?| Has performance improved?| Has performance improved?| Has performance improved?| Are there any other training opportunities?| Is there a return on investment? | Is there a return on investment?|

3. What is Return on Investment (ROI)?

Return on Investment (ROI) is used in many areas of business to evaluate the efficiency of an investment, in this case the cost of training.

The cost of training does not solely include the cost of developing and delivering the materials, but the initial analysis, the trainer’s time, venue costs, the time of the trainees, the loss of business due to their being away from the workplace, equipment etc. I’m afraid it’s time for some maths.

It’s a simple calculation, conducted to establish the percentage return on the initial investment:

Net Training Benefits £ (Gross Benefit – Training Costs) Net ROI = X 100
Training Costs £

So if the benefit of the training is a measureable increase in sales of £230, 000 for the year and the total cost of the programme was £75, 000:

£230, 000 - £75, 000
Net ROI = X 100
£75, 000

£155, 000
Net ROI = X 100
£75, 000

Net ROI = 206% per annum.

Calculating ROI is not an exact science; other factors may affect the benefit of training and it may not always be possible to calculate exact costs, however, is...
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