There are numerous different groups that should be involved in evaluating training, more than just the people who have delivered the training and those that have received it.
The Big Five in Training Evaluation
Lesile Rae is a UK management and training consultant who has written extensively about training in general but also specifically about training evaluation. He has previously coined the expression ‘The Evaluation Quintet’ providing a useful illustration of the five groups of people who he believes should be involved in evaluating training.
I have reproduced his illustration below, taken from his book ‘Assessing the Value of Your Training’ published by Gower Publishing Limited (2002).
Below I have provided what I believe are the key areas where each of the 5 groups can contribute towards the evaluation process.
Senior Management Contribution
Whilst they clearly will not have a hands on role hopefully they will be contributing towards developing a culture where evaluation is seen as an essential activity – encouraging managers to allocate an appropriate resource for evaluating training.
Of course, senior management should also be instrumental in driving change as a consequence of evaluation results. Senior managers have busy schedules, and as such they should be presented with information in a way that enables them to quickly assimilate those results – a useful method can be to use information dashboards.
The Training Manager Contribution
This is the key role in ensuring that training evaluation occurs within the organisation. In my opinion they should also be the author of any training evaluation strategy which provides the big picture of the evaluation activity that will be taking place. I have written before about the 5 reasons for an evaluation strategy.
Training managers will also need to interface with senior managers over evaluation results as well as engaging with line managers on how they can support and inform the evaluation process.
The Line Manager Contribution
Involving line managers is essential in order to conduct evaluation at the higher levels of the Kirkpatrick Model (gain an overview of this model here). Line managers are generally busy people and it is up to the Training Manager to communicate why their role is so important – they hold significant influence over how effectively the training can be transferred into the workplace.
Line managers should be encouraged to participate in determining what type of evaluation activity occurs for different types of training, in particular with regard to the assessment – read this post which explains how and why managers in the key areas of the business should contribute to the development of assessment strategies.
As well as contributing towards any evaluation projects that are initiated they should also encourage their employees to participate – supporting senior management in creating a culture where evaluation is seen as routine.
The Trainer Contribution
Individual trainers need to be bought into the methodologies that are been used to evaluate the training that they deliver. Whilst in the training environment trainers can influence the mood and should strive to create an environment where participants feel able to provide open and honest feedback. They will also be integral to how the participants are assessed and will need to be clear on the assessment procedures to ensure they applied consistently.
Trainers will need to be provided with the results of the evaluation (in my opinion at all levels) so that they can be involved in developing and implementing any necessary action plans.
The Learner Contribution
Finally the learner, as well as having to learn, also needs to contribute to the evaluation process. Learners need to provide their initial feedback on the training, undertake the assessments at the end of the training and providing their views on the relevance and opportunity to transfer the learning into the workplace after the event. Without this interaction the process will lack the foundation data upon which the evaluation results will be formed.
How do you co-ordinate these contributions?
In my opinion your training strategy should clearly outline roles and responsibilities for everyone who is involved in training evaluation. However, establishing the right culture and gaining the buy-in across all levels of the organisation can be a challenge. It is possible that the Big Five may live in a more harmonious environment if a ranger was present.
In certain circumstances it maybe helpful to use the services of an external evaluator to help co-ordinate the different contributions. There are times when somebody from outside the organisation can be more successful in pulling together the strands of all those who are involved in training evaluation.
Are there any other groups or individuals who you think are key to conducting effective training evaluation? Let me know via the comments section below.