Why Are Training Evaluations Important? Guide and Free Template

Why Are Training Evaluations Important? Guide and Free Template

There are many different types of training and assessment that organisations use to train their teams. However, one area that is often overlooked is the training program assessment itself. Companies will develop courses, put employee training programs into practice, and expect them to run effectively without further intervention.

In the same way that learners and employees require continuous assessment, businesses, RTOs and VETs should also regularly evaluate the training they provide.

What is a Training Evaluation?

A training evaluation is a systematic process for determining the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of your training programs. It involves collecting and analysing data about learning and development (L&D) initiatives to ensure you’re meeting your training objectives. The process can also help you to understand how well your training content is received by learners and the overall return on investment (ROI) of learning for your organisation.

Taking the time to evaluate training effectiveness is crucial for recognising strengths and weaknesses within your training program. It can help you allocate time and resources efficiently, and enhance future learning. In a fast-paced modern world where systems and processes are regularly evolving, evaluating the training you offer also ensures that they remain up-to-date and relevant.

training evaluation form Mockup 1 (1)

Downloadable Training Evaluation Template

Training evaluation can be a frustrating and time-consuming process if you don’t have the right tools for the job. That’s why we’ve put together a downloadable and customisable template to simplify the evaluation process.

The free template includes 16 questions for effectively evaluating training initiatives and assessing their impact on your business. It is easily adaptable to make the questions suitable for sharing with participants, educators, key stakeholders and more. This will help you evaluate your program from multiple perspectives, ensuring training effectiveness, and seeing you meet and exceed business objectives.Download the training evaluation template today.

Want to simplify your training evaluation process?

Our customisable template is the tool you need.

Why Should You Evaluate Training?

There are plenty of advantages to be gained from reviewing, evaluating and refining your training programs. By systematically assessing your training initiatives, you can enhance their effectiveness, support employee development, and align your training with strategic business goals. Other benefits of training evaluation include:

1. Justify Spending and Secure Further Budgets

Training is not a low-cost exercise. It takes time and careful planning from an administrative perspective. Employee training also takes resources away from your business, both in terms of those undergoing training and their educators. This is why it’s critical to evaluate training programs and ensure that the results are worth the time and effort that you’re putting into them.

Taking a data-driven approach to training evaluation will provide stakeholders with evidence that you’re running effective training programs and that their investments are worthwhile. This will help secure future financial support.

2. Measure the Impact of Training Programs

You can design training programs around specific goals and objectives. However, whenever a human factor is involved it’s difficult to predict results.

Evaluating your training initiatives will provide a clear picture of their effectiveness. By comparing the outcomes of your programs to the objectives you want to achieve, you can make adjustments that help you meet and exceed your goals.

You’ll also have an opportunity to analyse training results alongside real-world employee performance. This indicates how well learners retain the information they learn, and how effectively they turn learning into actions.

3. Engage with Employees

A critical step in the training evaluation process is gathering feedback from learners. However, you also need to analyse that training feedback and make improvements based on it. This will help improve initiatives based on what learners want and expect.

By doing this, you show employees and learners that their input is heard and valued. It will also improve learner engagement with courses and materials and improve long-term knowledge retention.

Need some ideas for gathering feedback on your training?

Download our handy training feedback template.

4. Increase Retention Rates and Satisfaction

When employees engage with training content and feel that their opinions are valued, their performance within their roles will naturally improve.

More than this, the opportunities that effective L&D initiatives provide can also lead to improvements in employee satisfaction, which significantly impacts employee retention in turn. This win-win-win situation helps businesses ensure training initiatives are working well for learners and business objectives. You’re not only enhancing productivity but also ensuring the lasting effect of training on your business processes.

5. Develop Change Management Skills

The more prepared you and your teams are to handle changing scenarios, the better placed you’ll be to handle changes in your market and industry. Training evaluations are a great way to become more adaptable and improve change management skills

Regularly assessing your training program can see it evolving as your business does. As you adopt new procedures and implement best practices for working efficiently, you can also update training initiatives to reflect those changes. This will see your workforce growing as you do, and always adapting to more productive ways of working and learning.

6. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

The training evaluation process can help you identify areas both in your initiatives and in your team, where improvements can be made.

Where your training programs are successful and are meeting or exceeding your expectations, you can analyse what it is about those courses or training materials that work so well. This can help you to implement those strengths throughout your learning initiatives.

In a similar way, analysing where weaknesses lie can see you effectively addressing them and finding areas where improvement will be most beneficial.

7. Enhance Training Design

There are many different types of learning styles, and no one style is going to suit everyone within your organisation. Recognising which styles of learning are most effective for your team members will help you to better cater towards them in your future learning programs.

You may even find that a combination approach works best. Specific topics may be better suited to visual learning, while others benefit from a social learning approach.

8. Foster Accountability

All too often, the responsibility for learning is put squarely on employees’ shoulders. Companies make training materials available, and that’s where their responsibility ends. However, when businesses also take accountability through training evaluation, the result is that responsibility is shared.

Learners need to be held accountable for their own growth and progress. However, businesses also need to facilitate that development by providing training materials that are effective and aimed towards meeting company objectives.

Accountability on both parts will foster a culture of excellence, continuous assessment and consistent improvement.

complex training evaluation meeting gives woman headache

Training Evaluation Challenges

While there are a number of advantages to undertaking training evaluation, there are plenty of challenges as well. These include:

  • Limited resources and time constraints. Putting training courses together is a long-term commitment. Regularly evaluating them adds further strain on administrators and educators if not managed efficiently.
  • Stakeholder buy-in. Owners and investors often prioritise new initiatives over learning and development. This sees the time and effort that goes into training evaluation often being underrated or seen as an unnecessary expense.
  • Lack of framework or methodology. Many companies that assess their training programs often do so on an ad-hoc basis. They base their evaluations on a gut feeling of how well initiatives seem to work without delving too deeply into the data. If no glaring problems emerge, they take it as a sign to continue as normal. This type of evaluation can easily result in inconsistencies and inefficiencies.
  • Complexity of evaluation models. It would be one matter if evaluation was a quick and simple process that was easy to understand. However, the methods are often complex. There are so many different training evaluation models that finding the best one to suit your business needs is a process in and of itself.
  • Inability to link training to talent development, performance, and outcomes. It is difficult to measure what improved performance looks like. There are also often multiple factors involved in performance improvements beyond only training initiatives. For example, a person’s work-life balance or state of mind can significantly impact their work.
  • Lack of the right tools and technology to collect data. Without the proper tools behind them, any company will struggle to effectively evaluate training programs. This is especially true for businesses that use pen-and-paper assessments, or those that opt for single-use technologies that don’t integrate with other software. The capture and analysis of data require too much manual input to make it a viable solution.
  • Lack of capacity in-house. Many businesses simply don’t have the resources to regularly assess training programs. For example, small businesses that maintain a minimum staff component wouldn’t have the time to evaluate training alongside their other work. Training evaluation would then need to be outsourced at an additional expense which often can’t be justified.

Training evaluation has a history dating back to the 1950s when Kirkpatrick first introduced the world to his four-level model. Since then, many training evaluation methods have emerged. Reviewing all of the different evaluation models that are out there would take all day, but there are four that are more popular than the rest:

kirkpatricks training evaluation model

Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Model

The Kirkpatrick model is a widely used framework for evaluating the effectiveness of training programs. The model consists of four levels: Reaction, Learning, Behaviorand Results. It considers both numerical and contextual factors, making it a good mix between quantitative and qualitative evaluation.

The Reaction level involves speaking to participants to better understand their satisfaction and engagement with training materials.

The Learning stage is an opportunity to assess how much participants learned, indicating the effectiveness of the courses.

The Behaviour level evaluates how well learners are able to apply their new-found knowledge in their day-to-day roles.

Finally, the Results level involves assessing the overall impact that training has on organisational goals and employee performance.

The model is comprehensive, providing a high-level view of how effective a company’s training program is. However, it can be a time-consuming and costly undertaking. The behaviour and results stages in particular require long-term analysis.

Phillips ROI Model

The Phillips ROI model takes Kirkpatrick’s approach one step further, adding a fifth level of analysis. It considers return on investment (ROI) as a critical component of training evaluation, providing a cost-benefit analysis of learning initiatives. This makes the Phillips model a more quantitative approach that focuses on figures and numerical data.

By assessing ROI it becomes easier to motivate for funding, since you’ll clearly understand the financial impact of training. Stakeholders appreciate figures rather than statistics, and by showing the monetary impact of training, it’s easier to get stakeholder buy-in and further investment.

However, the additional metric adds further complexity to an already time-consuming and difficult process. Many companies also don’t have the in-house expertise to thoroughly evaluate the financial impact of training.

CIRO Model

Like the Kirkpatrick method, the CIRO training evaluation model also looks at four stages: Context, Input, Reaction and Output. This also sees it combining qualitative and quantitative data for a well-rounded training analysis.

The Context stage involves assessing what your business needs from a training program. This is a crucial step in setting up objectives for your overall training initiatives and will form the foundation for measuring training effectiveness during the Output stage.

During the Input stage, businesses assess existing training resources, methods and strategies. This helps with future adjustments to the learning programs, giving businesses a good idea of where any training gaps may lie.

The Reaction stage works in much the same way as Kirkpatrick’s does. It involves measuring learners’ immediate responses to training.

The final Output stage combines the Behaviour and Results levels from the Kirkpatrick model, evaluating the immediate training outcomes, behavioural changes and overall impact on performance.

These four stages provide a great starting point to improve training programs. The process automatically frames the data to allow for quick adjustments and improvements, since the training evaluation looks at both the training itself and the intentions behind it. This sees it better aligned with organisational needs and ensures that your training programs remain relevant and effective long-term.

Where the model falls short compared to the Kirkpatrick Four-Level model and Phillips ROI model is in its short-t