What is the definition of training evaluation?

My definition of training evaluation…

I define training evaluation as (mouse over the highlighted words for additional explanation):

“The systematicSystematic suggests there is a system in place, it doesn’t happen on an ad-hoc basis, there is a plan that flows from a strategy! analysisAnalysis suggests that there is data to analyse, the analysis needs to be robust and the data collection based on a sound methodology. of training to demonstrate Demonstrate suggests that the evaluation process results in some evidence to back-up your conclusions. whether it has met its objectivesObjectives suggests that there are clear documented objectives for the training and assumes that they are aligned with business outputs. in an effectiveEffective focuses on an examination of the delivery and assessment of the training and whether the trained individual now has the knowledge and/or skills that the training was designed to transfer. and efficientEfficient addresses the value aspect, those significant £ and $ signs. Does the training offer value for money? Could the same effect be delivered whilst utilising less resources? manner”.

One size doesn’t fit all…

Whilst I think we should search for a common definition, how you design your methods of training evaluation should depend on the particular characteristics of the training in question. Is it a one off formal event; a range of informal learning interventions; delivered on-the-job or through a system of modern learning technologies?

But there is a common theme…

However, whatever training delivery methods you use, all types of training/learning should have clear training objectives, these in turn should be linked to business objectives. If you don’t have clear training objectives how do you know what you’re trying to achieve? Training evaluation is the process by which you can determine if you have met those objectives and whether there is a better and cheaper way in which to do so in the future.  The evaluation process should be based on relevant data and conducted in a planned and logical way.

Can we collectively create the optimum definition of training evaluation?

It would be great if readers of this blog could contribute towards developing the optimum definition of training evaluation.  Add your own definitions in the comments below or feel free to suggest ways in which my definition could be developed.

2 Responses to What is the definition of training evaluation?

  1. Lindsey Pike at 5:37 pm #

    It’s a tough one- maybe I’m casting the definitional net too wide here, but considering the literature on training transfer I’d like to see some reference to the factors in the workplace that have helped or hindered too- “training” by itself can’t be effective, it needs people to be motivated to implement it, and to work within a culture where the new learning is supported. This means questioning the mechanism of action by which training has worked- or the reasons it hasn’t. So maybe just a little tweak:
    “The systematic analysis of training and the transfer system it operates within to demonstrate whether training objectives have been met in an effective and efficient manner”.

  2. Richard at 6:09 pm #

    Hi Lindsey, great comment! I agree that the transfer aspect is critical – I like your suggested tweak and I’ll look to incorporate it. Thanks very much for contributing!

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