Cipd Report the Value of Learning

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Change agenda

The value of learning
A new model of value and evaluation

This Change Agenda was written by Valerie Anderson, University of Portsmouth Business School.

The value of learning

1

Introduction

Human capital has become an important issue, and organisations are increasingly aware of the need to treat people development as a high-level strategic issue and systematically to analyse, measure and evaluate how investment in people creates value. Learning and training play a key part in the valuecreation process. HR professionals recognise the importance of aligning learning processes with organisational priorities and the need to assess, demonstrate and report on the value contribution that learning makes to the organisation.

The value of learning project In November 2006 the CIPD appointed members of the University of Portsmouth Business School to undertake research into this important area. This Change Agenda highlights the main findings from the project. The research indicates that a ‘one size fits all’ set of metrics to establish learning value is inappropriate. A wide-ranging approach is required, which involves: • aligning learning processes and investment to

organisational strategic priorities
using a range of methods to assess and evaluate

the contribution of learning
establishing the most relevant approaches to

assessing and reporting on the value of learning for the organisation.

2

The value of learning

Key challenges for value
and evaluation

Previous CIPD research has highlighted two areas of challenge 1 The evaluation challenge Learning and training professionals have always recognised the need to evaluate the effectiveness of learning and training interventions. Most traditional approaches to training evaluation (see, for example, Kirkpatrick 1975, and Bramley 2003) have advocated a series of levels through which an assessment is made of the effects of individual learning and training activities that include: The CIPD Partnership Model of Learning (Figure 1) • learners’ reactions to the learning experience • the learning achievements of participants • changes in job behaviour • the organisational effect of specific learning

2 The value challenge The development of learning capabilities has become a key feature of people development strategies in many organisations. Executive decision-makers are becoming aware that intellectual and knowledge assets form a large part of the intangible value of their organisation. To manage effectively their investment in human capital they require timely and relevant information to assess the extent to which investment in learning is contributing to organisational performance.

highlights the importance of delivering and validating cost-effective and collaborative learning processes that are aligned with the organisation’s strategic priorities. The model emphasises the importance of ensuring that: • learning processes deliver value to the organisation

interventions. Some practitioners (see, for example, Kearns 2005) have also suggested a calculation process to determine the economic return on investment (ROI) for individual learning and training processes. Although evaluation is a fundamental part of the work of learning and training professionals, it presents many challenges, some of which are summarised here: • Survey data (CIPD 2006b) suggests that 80% • learning resources are deployed in a cost-effective

way. However, ‘value’ is defined by the receivers of the learning and training contribution and not by the trainers who deliver or facilitate it. There is an urgent need for HR professionals to be able to demonstrate the value of learning to their organisation if senior decision-makers are to maintain their commitment to investment in learning and training.

of HRD professionals believe that training and development delivers more value to their organisation than they are able to...
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