!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: "Impact of Learning" as an Evaluation Metric

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Impact of Learning" as an Evaluation Metric

I'm generally not particularly inspired by the material in Chief Learning Officer magazine, but there were a couple of articles in the September issue that I read because they offer useful advice on evaluating training in a practical, meaningful way.

The first article, by Jim Naughton, explains use of "impact of learning" (IOL) as one's measure of the degree of success achieved by training initiatives.1 The IOL approach has three steps:
  1. Create a map of the linkage from business goals to training initiatives and identify success metrics, i.e., measures reflecting the degree to which the intended outcomes of the training have been achieved.

  2. Gather data on the success metrics and individual success stories.

  3. Develop an impact report with compelling stories of individual and overall success, so executives clearly see the impact of training on organizational issues they care about.
The problem with the IOL approach is that executives are wont to ask whether the impacts detailed in the impact report were obtained at reasonable cost. This is where the second CLO article proves helpful. In the article, Michael Echols addresses the question of how to measure the value training initiatives create. He points out that measuring value added by training requires:
  • getting agreement from top management on the value of changes in the specific outcomes the training is intended to affect (e.g., growth in revenue, employee engagement, retention, productivity, innovation, customer satisfaction, cash flow).

  • using sound statistical analysis to estimate the impact of training, while controlling for other significant factors that influence the outcomes being tracked.
Echols provides a case study of how Chrysler used the methodology he describes to evaluate a proposed program of dealer training.

1 This previous post makes similar points concerning a practical approach to evaluating training. For a discussion of how to elicit the trainee's evaluation of training, see this post.

2 This previous post makes similar points concerning how to measure the value that training initiatives create.