An organization can spend endless time, energy and resources creating and editing an online training course, but if its impact can’t be accurately measured it’s difficult to ensure it’s worth it at all.
So how can we tell if our eLearning strategies are helping our employees increase their performance, and therefore benefiting the bottom line? With countless hours, priceless energy and real budgets at stake, it’s in our best interest to be sure. We cannot rely on assumptions.
Here are a few ways to measure the effectiveness of your eLearning strategy:
Observe your employees before and after.
In order to measure the effectiveness of a training session, we must first determine exactly what the training should result in. It must be measurable. Identify the specific goal of the training program and then observe the participants before and again after so that you can objectively compare the results. The true test of your training is whether or not your employees obtained the skills and knowledge they were intended to obtain. Could they do it before? And if not, can they do it now? That’s the most basic test, and perhaps the only necessary test as well.
Create test scenarios.
If the risk or expense of before and after observation is just too high for your organization (i.e. a sales force or perhaps safety training) consider creating real-life scenarios in which to deploy your after-the-training observation. Instead of sending them out into the real world before proving they’ve acquired the skill or knowledge, set up test-scenarios instead. This lowers the risk and allows you to test them in a safe, supportive environment.
Embed assessments into the training itself.
A good way to gage effectiveness is to build assessments into the training strategy. Creating quizzes throughout and tests at the completion will allow you to measure how well all participants are retaining the knowledge or skills presented. If everyone is failing to pass a test at completion, you’ll know it’s likely your training strategy that needs revising. If you provide an assessment in the beginning and again at completion, and everyone passes, you’ll know the training has been effective.
Glean insights from participants.
Often times listening directly to your employees’ feedback can be the most effective way to measure a training program’s success. Build questionnaires into the eLearning strategy or run focus groups that gage their satisfaction after completion. Ask questions such as: Do they believe it was valuable and worth their time? Did they enjoy it? Did they find it interesting? Would they recommend it to their colleagues? Did they feel it improved their skills or pertained to their responsibilities? The answers to all of these questions are invaluable not only because it will tell you if the initiative is effective, but it will also tell you how engaged they were with the content and how motivated they were to focus on and complete it. This is really the key indicator of its effectiveness, because it could be the most poignant training available but if it doesn’t engage the learner, it falls flat.
The most important litmus test of a training program’s effectiveness is whether or not the goal of the training was reached. Can your employees perform the task or prove that they retained the knowledge that the training was intended to deliver? In order to measure that correctly, we have to know what that goal is and we have to test before and after as well. Our training programs simply cost too much in terms of time, energy and resources to make assumptions regarding their effectiveness. We have to know for sure.