5 common obstacles to conducting training evaluation

There are so many obstacles that can get in the way of even the best intentions of evaluating training. However, my top five are:

  1. Lack of time;
  2. Lack of support;
  3. Not having the right skills or tools;
  4. Not planning ahead;
  5. The inability to link training to business objectives.

1.  There isn’t enough time; I have another course starting next week!

I know that training departments can be exceptionally busy places! Some can feel like a production line with one course ending on a Friday and the next starting on a Monday.

Sometimes though, you have to take a breath. Just imagine, if after a programme of evaluation activity you realised you could reduce the course you have been running from 5 days to 4 because there are elements that are no longer relevant. After a re-design you could start training every Monday – Thursday and then have Friday to catch-up on all your admin.

Of course you might find that your training is not long enough because you’re not delivering all the right things. Either way, I’m sure that if your department is going to continue to be so busy you’ll want to ensure that all the effort you contribute is providing a valued output!

Evaluation is important – lose something else and make time for it!

2.  Even if I tried no one would support me; line managers in particular are not interested!

This is another problem area and a difficult one to tackle. This often depends on the organisational culture that is present in your place of work. I’ll be posting very soon (I’ll link here) on who should be involved in the training evaluation process and how you can go about engaging these different stakeholders.

What is clear though is that you’ll need to put an action plan together of how to gain support. Read my post on the 3 principle reasons for training evaluation. This might help provide some ideas for points to include in any ‘training evaluation awareness’ campaign that you consider running.

Evaluation is important – decide how you’re going to communicate that message in your organisation!

3.  I don’t know how to go about it; I wish I had some simple tools and techniques to help!

As a training professional I wouldn’t expect people to be able to carry out specialised tasks unless they have received the appropriate training. Conducting training evaluation activity is no different.

Unless you have some direction on how you’re going to approach the subject, and you are armed with some appropriate tools and techniques, then it can be very difficult to know where to start.  If you are in this position then I hope this blog will help!

Evaluation is important – subscribe to this blog so you can learn more about how to do it effectively!

4.  Ooops, I didn’t think about this until after I had delivered the training!

This has certainly caught me out in the past. I knew I should be doing some form of training evaluation but I became completed preoccupied with designing the content and then focusing on delivery. In some cases your evaluation activity may need to start even before the training begins, gathering pre-event data can be valuable in demonstrating the benefits that training adds. Even if this isn’t the case, you should be designing your training evaluation strategy before you start training delivery!

Evaluation is important – make sure you plan what you need to do before, during and after the training!

5.  I don’t know what I should be evaluating the training against!

If you’re evaluating effectively you’ll want to demonstrate how your training is supporting your business or service objectives. If the training department is isolated (physically or metaphorically) from the real business or service outputs then drawing these parallels can be even more daunting.

Evaluation is important – start to map how your trained output is aligned to business objectives!

What are the obstacles you face?

Do any of these ring true for you? Have I missed something that prevents you from carrying out training evaluation activity? It would be great to hear from you in the comments below, or why not submit a guest post – more detail on this is here.

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