Who should be involved in Training Evaluation?

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).

The Evaluation Quintet by Leslie Allen

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.
Using an external evaluator

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.

3 Responses to Who should be involved in Training Evaluation?

  1. Kenneth Fee at 4:11 pm #

    Hmm, not sure about the continued validity of this model, Richard. It seems a bit old fashioned to me. Where’s the consideration of the service user/customer? What about the supply and value chains? What about a 360 degree view, taking account of the opinions & experiences of colleagues/peers? As a stakeholder model, this seems pretty limited. My biggest concern is that the customer has no place in the quintet – does Rae simply assume that senior management are the customers?! I’d be interested in your thoughts.


    • Richard at 10:48 pm #

      Hi Ken, thanks for dropping by. What I think is useful about this model is the way that it acts as a reminder to the trainer that they need to think beyond the training environment when considering training evaluation. It provides a useful list of people that you might want to initially engage with, I think this is helpful if you’re conducting evaluation for the first time.

      In a way, if you were to consider feedback from the 5 in the quintet, you may well be achieving a 360 degree view. Not in a classic appraisal sense but by reflecting on data from all the different sources you would hopefully be able to develop a rounded view? I agree that the customer is not clearly defined in this model and that it’s essential to do this when evaluating.

      Naturally who the customer is will depend on the circumstances. It could well be senior management, but it maybe some other business partner, perhaps the trainee themselves, maybe the shareholders, or a particular client who has commissioned the training…. Clearly identifying the customer will enable you to have a dialogue with them during your evaluation design. This should help ensure that your evaluation approach matches their expectations – this will be important.

      Thanks again for your thought provoking comments!

  2. NK at 3:56 am #

    Hello Richard and Ken,
    I can see where Ken is coming from. At first one is tempted to think that the customer is absent in this model, however upon closer analysis it is evident that the customer is sitting behind it all and at times the beneficieries of the training output / results.
    So this mean that if we take the customer as the one who brings in the money and we consider them as the catalyst for what happens to all parties upon entering into the internal training sphere then this model is very practical.
    It clearly shows that the act of evaluation is not just between the event, the trainer and the recipient, but rather the immobolisers, such as the training manager and the busines line manage and the sponsors who are the executives.
    I am curently researching what is happening in the ‘evaluation’ field as i am starting to develop a strategy for evaluation of training for NSW government department, who is the largest employer in Australia.
    so this model is good and simple way to ensure all the parties who need to be considered are enagaged approperiatly.

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