American Society for Training and Development
(ASTD) Learning Outcomes Report - Training and Development

ASTD's2000 Learning Outcomes Report (Bassi and Ahlstrand 2000) is its second annual report of results from firms using its measurement kit. It covers only outcomes from formal training programs. The 2000 report includes outcome data obtained at two points—at the end of training and during follow up after training. For end of training data, the outcomes represent 7,917 courses and 375,704participants. Follow-up data represents 2,397 courses, 14,386 learner responses, supervisory responses on 1,695 courses, and 9,825 individual supervisor reports. The respondents represent a broad cross-section of countries, firm size, and training type.

Of most interest to us here are the post-training follow-up responses. These responses would be considered Learning-Expertise results using the results assessment framework discussed in the introduction. Two questions were asked of supervisors and training participants: What percent change occurred in participants' performance on the course objectives and in the participants' overall job performance?Because the supervisors' ratings tended to be lower than the participants', we will use them because they are the more conservative estimate.

For change in performance on the course objectives, the average improvement across all training types was 34 percent, ranging from 24 to 40 percent for training other than new employee orientation, which reported 67 percent improvement.This measure indicates how much change occurred in skill areas specifically targeted by the training. For change in overall job performance, the average improvement across all training types was 29 percent, ranging from 20 to 43percent for training other than new employee orientation, which reported a 66percent improvement. Participant ratings on improvement were close to supervisor ratings, though usually slightly higher. Reported improvement percentages for different training types are shown in Table below.

different training types

Supervisor Ratings of Performance Improvement

These data clearly suggest strong performance improvement from training. Although there is no data here to indicate whether the changed performance resulted in financial returns, the strong improvements in overall job performance as reported by supervisors of participants (who are less likely to give biased results than the participants' responses) is compelling. Clearly, training makes a difference.The ASTD Learning Outcomes data points to this conclusion:
Core Conclusion #1Training and Development can change job behaviors and overall job performance.

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