Was it all Worth It?

Assessment Word block  Businesses all around the world spend billions of dollars on quality assurance and control. They ensure that all products that they put out to market meet a certain standard, usually somewhere around 99%. They have trained professionals checking a sampling of products that meet the expectations of the business and can be sold to waiting consumers. If this product is no good, ideally the business will get consumer feedback and continuously improve the products. Products improve over time, and businesses can measure how effective (or popular) their products are based on certain quality measurements and marketing research.

Training has little differences with quality control. In the fifth and final phase of the ADDIE instructional design model, trainers Evaluate their courses and see how effective they were. Ultimately, a trainer uses the Evaluate phase to determine how well the solution achieved the objectives of the training, through measurement and assessment. This can be done through having the students complete evaluation forms, assessments of the students’ performance either during or after the training, or direct observation of their comprehension of the materials. Once this measurement is completed and analyzed, the trainer should then determine if additional instruction is needed, and make the necessary corrections.

An interesting methodology of measuring training effectiveness comes from Donald Kirkpatrick. He breaks evaluation of training into four distinct levels, getting more complex and deeper in evaluation as you go higher.  The four levels are as follows:
Level 1 – Reaction: How favorably do the participants react to the training?
Level 2 – Learning: How well did the trainees acquire new knowledge or skills during the training?
Level 3 – Behavior: How effectively did the trainees apply what they learned in their jobs after the training?
Level 4 – Results: How well were the target objectives achieved as a result of the training?
Source: kirkpatrickpartners.com

Depending on the answers to these questions, the ADDIE cycle should be completed.  If the objectives aren’t met to your satisfaction, you might need to restart the model, or go back to the design phase and try revamping the training.  Sometimes you will need to re-apply the training to additional employees to better permeate the culture.  You might need to adjust your materials, delivery style, or assessment methods to get a better result.  Ultimately, the goals of the business need to be met as best as possible using the tools at hand.  The ADDIE model is designed to be a cycle, something that can be used over and over again until the objectives are met.  Using this model will allow you to structure your training courses and make your job easier.

Photo credit: University of Connecticut

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