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Evaluating current learning and material

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It is important to think about how you are going to evaluate your learning and development activities at the planning stage and build this into your Training Needs Analysis.

Evaluation helps demonstrate the value of training and learning and will help you plan future training and learning activities.

The Kirkpatrick model is widely used and identifies four levels of evaluation:

Level 1: Reaction

This asks learners how they felt about the learning they took part in. It is usually assessed using a course evaluation questionnaire or ‘happy sheet’.

There are alternatives to questionnaires. For example, you could end a training session by asking people to jot down answers on post-it notes to questions such as what I liked, what could be improved, what I learnt, what else do I need to learn. You can then collate these on a flipchart.

Level 2: Learning

This assesses what has been learnt and the ways you assess this will depend on what participants should have learnt at the end of the training (the learning objective).

For example, if the learning objective was particular information about health and safety policies, then this could be tested with a quiz. If the learning objective was to learn to perform a particular task such as producing a spreadsheet or chairing a meeting, then this can be tested and observed in the workplace.

Level 3: Behaviour

This evaluates the effect that taking part in the training or learning has on an individual’s behaviour in their job. This can be assessed by reviewing changes in their knowledge, skills and competence as part of their supervision and appraisal process.

Level 4: Results

This looks at the impact of the learning on the organisation’s performance as a whole.

If the learning objectives are clearly linked to organisational objectives, then data linking learning to organisational changes will be easier to obtain and analyse.