Post-Training Measurement - Training and Development

At the End of Training. When the training ends and the learners are ready to return to their work posts, the really appropriate measurement is a "terminal test" of their skill in performing all the course objectives. Such performance testing would undoubtedly enhance most T&D Programs and better ensure effective results. Thus, the final sessions may use simulations, try-outs of the desired performance, role-plays, or paper-and-pencil tests as measurement as well as regular learning activities.If these activities are truly measurement tools, they probably should call attention to the achievement (or non achievement) of each objective and each criterion. Such checklists become effective nominal scales. Learners can count their own achievements to measure and reinforce the learning's—and to redefine goals and skills not yet "mastered."

What happens too often is that students are asked to evaluate the training program at the very end of the program. This is unfortunate at a time when measurements what is needed and students are asked to make evaluations.

Besides,the timing is bad. The data should have been part of ongoing measurement an devaluation throughout the program. Now, at closing, most participants just want to go home! If an evaluation can be made meaningful at such a moment, it is probably the learners' estimates of how much they have acquired (I can/I Cannot), or how much they think they will apply the new learnings on the job.

Thus, the most effective instruments tend to present these types of questions:

  1. As a result of this training, I plan to make these changes in the way I do my work:
  2. As evidence that these changes are producing results, I will be looking for these indices and/or symptoms of improved operations:
  3. To feel completely confident in performing the new skills, I would like further help in...
  4. This training has shown me that I need future training in ...
  5. When my boss "debriefs" me on this training, I will ask for special help in . . .
  6. The best feedback I can give myself about how well I am applying my new knowledge/skill i s . . .
  7. If my peers or bosses hassle me about doing things in a different way, I will counter that by...
  8. In the future, when my peers are scheduled to attend this program I have just completed, I intend to help them get the most out of it by...

What aren't useful are so-called happy sheets or smile sheets. Such measures have consistently shown very low correlation with learning and performance. Thus,they really don't measure anything of long-term importance to trainers. Experienced trainers will tell you that it is relatively easy to make people happy. Persuading them to learn something that they can use on the job is not always what will make them happy. The smile-sheet trap is admittedly a seductive one, but avoid it. You know how it goes: Make them like you and it feels like job security. Wrong! In the long run, you will succeed only by offering training that makes a real difference on the job. Unfortunately, such learning may sometimes be confusing, hard work, challenging, intimidating, or scary—not the kind of learning that makes people happy in the short run. Another end-of-training instrument that provides meaningful quantitative information for the learner, the instructor, the T&D manager, and the client management ties intended use directly into course objectives. A typical form is shown in Figure below.

It is significant that the instrument uses the behavioral objectives of the learning program, thus reminding graduates of their learnings and linking those objectives with the world of work by equating them to performance standards.

Sample  end-of-training instrument_

Sample end-of-training instrument.

On-the-Job Measurement. The ultimate impact of a T&D Program can be determined only by measurement, which occurs some time after the training itself. Such measurement needs to reach the individual and the organization. For the individual, the concern is the perseverance of the new behavior; for the organization, the focus is the impact of the accumulated behaviors upon the operation.

One effective way to measure the perseverance of the new behaviors in graduates is to ask all graduates (at an appropriate interval after the program) how often they are using the new skills. If the form leaves room for added comments, some affective data can be collected right along with the quantitative measurements.One instrument for doing this is a mere tally on which the graduates make checkmark each time they perform the new skill. There is obviously great value in asking graduates to do just that: The tally provides inherent motivation to use the new skill and triggers effective follow-up conversations between graduate sand "the boss." It gives the latter a great chance to reinforce the new behavior before routing the tallies to the T&D department for quantitative measurement of the program's impact.

Amore sophisticated instrument is shown in Figure below, with its right hand column for perceptual data.

sophisticated instrument

Collecting affective data.

Obviously the captions for the vertical columns can be given different headings in the instruments shown in both Figures above. A more specific version uses time-based terms such as "HOURLY," "DAILY,""WEEKLY," "MONTHLY" or "NEVER." The right hand"COMMENTS" column elicits more frequent and more specific data if phrased "WITH THESE RESULTS." Another version asks for an appraisal with headings that read:

IDO THIS ONCE EVERY
HOUR/DAY/WEEK/MONTH
ANDTHE RESULTS ARE
AWFUL/BAD/SO-SO/GOOD/GREAT

A Totally different approach is to avoid "cueing" by mentioning the training objectives, yet to focus on the on-the-job application of the learning. Figure below shows how this can be done in a relatively simple way.

Mail the forms to the superior, with instructions for the local manager to give them to the graduates and to collect them from the graduates. There are several important advantages to such a routine:

Collecting affective data

Sample form for self-selecting behavioral objectives being used.

  1. Graduates tend to put more importance on the measurement form when they receive it from their own "boss."
  2. There is a greater return of the forms when the feedback is accomplished through regular reporting channels.
  3. The conversation between the graduate and the immediate superior is stimulated.
  4. Over time, and after repeated circulation of such measurement forms, the philosophy that training is supposed to produce a change in on the- job behaviors is communicated and underlined.

Some T&D directors like to validate the perceptions of the graduate with parallel inquiry directed to the superiors themselves. When this is the goal, some simple changes of wording can provide a double check. Forms such as the one we just examined can be sent to both parties:the graduates and the superior. The form for the superior then reads something like Figure above. You will note the extra question on the form for the boss.Some T&D managers like to route these inquiries to the boss's boss to send the message through more of the organization, and to increase the number of returns.


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