4 ways how you can evaluate your training
Welcome back to PowerPoint Training Online. It is great being able to use PowerPoint and know how to deliver training. But how do you know if you are doing a good job. When I first started to write and deliver training I one thing which I struggled with most was evaluating myself. I know others will probably have this struggle too, so let’s look at 4 ways you can evaluate your training.
Training can sometimes be difficult to evaluate. I suppose it really depends on your topic. Where you work. If you work in a call centre, I am sure they keep key metrics to monitor what is going on. If you work in a restaurant, you will see the fruits of your labour in the food produced by your protégé. No matter what you do or where you do it, there will be a way to measure and evaluate the training you do.
Over my working career, I have worked in 3 different industries. Restaurants, retail and call centres. One thing I have found is that evaluating training can be broken down into four methods
- One to One conversations
- Measure against KPI’s and targets
Each method has its pros and cons. Let’s now look at each of these in more detail.
Method one – Surveys
Surveys are a great way of getting feedback. There are multiple ways of sending out surveys. A survey can be delivered in multiple ways. There is the option of printing them off and passing them around at the end of your session. You could create a Google Form and email that around to collect responses. Or you could simply email the participants and ask them, for the feedback. You have the option of providing them at the end of a session or you can send them out later. I would say be careful of you decide to send them out a later date as people will tend to forget the session they attended.
The pros of surveys
Easy to send out – It is easy to send out surveys especially if you are dealing with a group of people. You can create a word doc with questions, leave enough space for answers and print off. Then hand these around before the end of your session. Me, I prefer to use a tool like Google Forms to collect responses. It provides me with awesome charts to show what people thought.
You can easily capture testaments – When handing out paper or forms, you are allowing participant the opportunity to write down testaments of how they felt about your training. You can then use the testaments on your website for all to see.
The cons of surveys
Getting the right questions – People will answer your questions as you ask them. If you ask the wrong question they you will probably get the wrong answer. Or if you ask the question a way in which it could be misinterpreted you will not get the answers you are looking for. And feedback is important. It is there to help us all improve.
Not everybody will fill out – I do not know the amount of times I have asked for surveys to be filled out and then I get a fraction of responses compared to attendants. This can be a little bit frustrating, especially when you explain to people why you want to survey them. This then leads to you wasting your time creating a survey, while getting few responses.
Method Two – One to One Conversations
A really great way of getting feedback is to speak to the participants. You can speak to them during the training, while on a break or you can speak to some time after the training. Either directly or a few days later.
The pros of one to one conversations
Direct feedback – Conversation allows you to get direct feedback directly from the source. But you must be quick. You want to make sure that you catch people when the session is still fresh in their mind. This is some of the best kind of feedback. Most people will provide you with good feedback allowing you to then use that feedback.
Non-formal – A quick chat with a participant, a friendly conversation with a colleague. These are all in-formal conversations. And that is great for collecting feedback. If people know you and know you well, they are more likely to feel comfortable talking to you about the training session.
The cons of one to one conversations
You cannot speak to everybody – depending on the size of your training session it can be quite difficult to get around to speak to everybody. If you are in a conference room filled with people, then you are only going to get the chance to speak to a few people.
People do not want to hurt your feelings – A big problem with one to one conversations, especially if it is with people you already know is that they do not want to hurt your feelings. I have had it numerous times when I give a training session and I know it was not the best. I knew where the flaws were but when I speak to people they say it is great. Trust me though, you will always get that one person that loves to tell you exactly how they feel.
Method Three – Assessment
Another really good way of evaluating your training is by putting the participants through an assessment. It does not have to be a long-winded assessment with two hundred questions. Something small and short can help you to evaluate your training. This is more for your classroom/e-learning based training, assessment is not for a large conference style training.
If you decide to use an assessment as way of evaluating your training, you need to make sure you are working smart. You need to make sure the questions asked are clear and concise, that there is no room for misinterpretation. Then when you start getting in results you need to make sure you are measuring the results. Is everybody getting the same question wrong. Are people failing the assessment. You can then take this data and help it to shape future training.
The pros of assessment
Aids learning – One of the more useful advantages of carrying out assessments is that it can be used to help aid learning. If you give a summary assessment with five or so questions covering the major points you covered in your training. It can help cement the learning as you are making the participants think about the session. They must recall what you said.
Can make everyone complete them – Working in a training environment, your company may use a training and competence scheme where you need to make sure all employees are competent to undertake the job. Using assessments, you will be able to capture this information. And you can make everybody that sits through your training take the assessment. As it becomes part of the training.
The cons of assessment
Reminds people of school – People go to school for any between ten to sixteen years, sometimes longer. The last thing they want is to come into the work place and start taking assessment every other week. When I first started using assessments within my training, it was with the sole purpose of making sure each participant was competent of doing their job with the information I provided. All my colleagues complained, they felt like I was taking them back to school. I got around this by not using assessments all the time.
People sometimes guess the answer – Not a problem that occurs a lot, but it happens none the less. I mentioned above that I introduced assessments into my training to make sure colleagues were competent to do the job. As part of my competent scheme, I allowed each colleague to take the assessment three times if they failed. One colleague failed it three times, when I spoke to him about it to see of there was any more learning he might need. He told me that he was just pressing buttons as he felt he knew everything about the topic. It turned out that he didn’t.
Method Four – Measure against KPI’s and targets
No matter what type of business you are in, you will have key performance indicators and targets for staff to meet. They will be different for every business and may even be different depending on the role.
Many businesses are in the customer service business and will have many ways of measuring success. They will use tools like NPS, WCSS and in-house quality control. I have found working in a customer service business that I am able to evaluate my training against participants KPI’s. If they improve I can put it down to the training. If they get worse. Maybe the training was not good enough.
In fact, it will be these KPI’s that will help to drive the training.
The pros of measuring against KPI’s and targets
There is always a KPI – No matter what business you are in, or what topic you are training, there will always be a KPI which you can measure against. And if your business does not currently measure something. You can always start measuring it. This will allow you to build up a database of targets you can judge people against.
Stats are black and white – When measuring against KPI’s you cannot lie about the stats. Numbers are one of those things that are either right or wrong. And they are only wrong if the person working with them has done something wrong. I use quality assurance scores to evaluate my training. If they go up because of the training carried out. Then there is no way anybody can argue with that.
The cons of measuring KPI’s and targets
Reliant on other people/departments – Depending on the size of the company which you work for or how they are structured, it can be a task having to deal with other people/departments to get the stats that you need. Emails get lost, you get put to the end of a list as your request is not as important as others. It can be really difficult sometimes.
Stats are black and white – A pro and a con. Stats can be good but at the same time they can be bad. They can never give you the full picture of what is happening. When it comes to training things like customer service skills it can be difficult to gauge this as people’s opinions of good customer service will always differ.
Four ways to help you evaluate your training. These methods will work across multiple sectors and businesses no matter where in the world you are. But they are not the only methods. It is up to you to be creative and work with the resources that your company has.
Until next time