Modern training evaluation is a combination of the very old and the very new.
At the one end of the time continuum we have Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation first developed in 1959 which still sits at the heart of modern training evaluation.
While at the other end of the continuum we have bleeding-edge LMS technology, Tin Cap API, which promises to take training evaluation into the third dimension.
However, we should put our feet on the ground for a second and start by reviewing the modern Kirkpatrick based training evaluation systems.
Kirkpatrick outlined 4 levels of training evaluation which many of you may be familiar or have seen in one form or another on your travels:
- Reaction – what participants thought and felt about the training (Happy sheets)
- Learning – the resultant increase in knowledge
- Behaviour – resultant change in behaviour (measured 3-6 months after training)
- Results – final results, e.g. increased productivity, better customer service etc…
You’ll probably recognise these types of training evaluation and will have seen some or all of these training levels deployed in organisations you have worked with or been employed in.
However, training evaluation is rarely flawlessly executed, and anecdotal evidence suggests that most training evaluation, especially in SMES, does not get far beyond level 2.
In many organisations, a positive set of results from the training satisfaction survey, Level 1 Reaction, can be enough to secure a seal of approval from many of the key stakeholders in the training process, hence training evaluation momentum can stop here.
E-learning technology is making it possible to fully automate learning evaluation by incorporating assessments at the start and end of e-learning programmes to assess knowledge gain, meaning Level 2 evaluation should gain some real traction once e-learning becomes a more prominent feature in the corporate training mix.
E-learning’s ability to automate training evaluation may be one of its biggest selling points.
Perhaps the hardest stage of training evaluation are level 3 and 4.
An organisation needs to be extremely disciplined in order to be successfully carrying out level 3, learned behaviour evaluation, 3 or 6 months after the excitement about training has died down.
As a result, momentum can be lost here and it may be only the most disciplined organisations that get anywhere near level 4 evaluation.
However, Tin Can API, which is a new LMS technology platform, has now introduced an enhanced and highly automated level of learner tracking which can make level 3 and level 4 training evaluation far more practical and less resource intensive.
Tin Cap API enables you to link job performance data with training data to help you understand the impact that training is having on performance.
This kind of deep-level training evaluation is not possible in the current generation of SCORM based LMS, which is why in order to make more advanced training evaluation possible L&D practitioners need to migrate to TIN Can API based LMS.