What Is Measurement? - Training and Development

First,let's distinguish between measurement and evaluation. Measurement is the process of gathering data; evaluation is the process of making judgments about those data.

Stated formally, measurement is the act of assigning numerals to processes or events or items by using some consistent set of rules. To evaluate, it is not necessary to measure; that is, we can make judgments about the beauty of a landscape without measuring the distance between trees and clouds. However, if we wish to make sound judgments about an organizational operation, hard data are necessary. We must count some objective evidence of conditions.

Thus,evaluation based on measurement has definite advantages:

  • It reduces the possibility of disagreement between evaluators.
  • It provides concrete feedback about what the program has achieved. If appropriately used throughout the training, it also provides continuous data about how the learning is progressing.
  • It permits positive comparison of pre- and post problem status.

Evaluation involves making judgments about ideas, works, solutions, methods, or materials.It involves the use of criteria. When applied to determining the effectiveness of training, evaluation therefore would depend upon measuring the conditions caused by the problem, the progress made by learners in acquiring behaviors to solve the problem, the application of new behavior, and the impact of that application upon the problem.

Let's identify measurement and evaluation in a typical T&D program. Suppose the Manager of Collections comes to the T&D manager, saying that the collection letters are pretty bad. "How bad are they?" asks the T&D manager.
"Here's how bad!" comes the reply. "We write one hundred twenty collection letters every day. We get some kind of payment from only eighteen. That's intolerable!"In this scenario, there has been measurement. Someone determined the daily output; someone counted the responses. That's measurement.

But the Manager of Collections commented, "Here's how bad!" and"That's intolerable!"
These are evaluations.

The process of measuring should be integral to all T&D functions. Without measurement,there is no positive assurance that the ensuing judgments are accurate. Without data, there is no proof that a real performance problem exists. Without measurement,there is no assurance that T&D efforts have really achieved their objectives or that they have really paid their way by returning to the organization values in excess of the expenditures. Data is essential for theft&D manager to make good decisions. Continued existence and future budgets depend on gathering relevant and accurate data on which to make intelligent decisions.

If we think of the acronym ME for Measurement and Evaluation, we have an appropriate symbol. "ME" is a selfish, first-person word. However, it is wise selfishness to measure and evaluate at all phases of the T&D cycle (Figure below).

measure and evaluate at all phases of the T&D cycle

The ME cycle—measurement an devaluation.

Let's examine that process in more detail.


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