Facilitator, Formal learning, Training

Learning Event Measurement for Non-L&D Folk

A quick 5 in 5 on why we should be measuring learning events in the workplace!

 

1. Why should I be measuring learning ?

It’s important to measure learning events so you can ensure that your intended outcomes translate into behaviour change or action within the workplace.

Evaluating training, seminars, workshops or events that you have put time into developing is important so you can:

  • Find out if your learning event had the intended outcome
  • If your learners didn’t get the required outcomes from the event, you can find out if there’s anything you need to follow up on (e.g. extra resources, follow up training etc.)
  • Reflect on what went well and could be improved next time to help you embed continuous learning to how you develop your people.

 

2. What do you mean by ‘learning event’?

If you have developed/delivered a training/event/workshop/seminar for staff or volunteers. This might be as simple as a two-hour face to face training session or a series of workshops or experiences that build into a ‘program’.

 

3. What if I think I need more comprehensive measurement?

You might do! If you’re doing a large scale project/change/series of events I would recommend a more detailed approach to measurement than a standard event follow up survey.

For example in some situations it may make sense to test your learner’s knowledge of the topic prior to the learning event/s so you can ask the same questions after and see the impact of your approach.

Alternatively in some situations it may make sense to survey both the learner and their manager to discuss change of behaviour from both perspectives.

A word of warning though – you don’t want to disengage your stakeholders through asking too much of them!

 

4. How do I measure?

You want to be careful that you’re measuring with a purpose – so don’t ask anything of your learners that isn’t going to feed in to constructive analysis afterwards.

Check out this great basic analysis on Kirkpatrick’s four-level evaluation model from Mind Tools.

This PDF of possible training questions is a good start – but it leans towards the old-school ‘happy sheet’ model where impact on, and change to, behaviour isn’t measured.

I recommend choosing a couple of questions around the experience of the learning event and then focusing most of your questions on what impact your learning event had on your main objective. This might be something like ‘increasing amount of time customer service staff spend making potential customers feel welcome in store prior to engaging in sales’, or ‘sharing personal personality testing results to enable constructive conflict to happen within our team’.

Once you’ve defined your primary objective it should be much easier to build a couple of questions around assessing the impact of your learning event on changing behaviour in this space.

 

5. What tools can I use?

Well you can go old school – forms at the end of the session. But for your convenience – as well as some additional analytics tools – I recommend using something like Survey Monkey to send out your survey electronically. It’s free to use and is a great starting point for  gathering data on your learning events.

 

Leadership, Thinking differently

How to Lead a Quest (book review)

The ‘Future of Work’ is very quickly becoming one of those phrases that when I hear I immediately start thinking about what I’m having for dinner.

Not because it’s a dull topic – quite the opposite! As a card-carrying HR nerd I find it fascinating – my aversion comes from some incredibly dishwater-dull speakers at conferences and ‘must read’ LinkedIn articles which espouse the importance of innovation without ever articulating what that means if you’re not a sexy tech millennial start up.

If you get excited by the idea of avoiding obsolescence (which I hope you do), pioneering into new ways of doing things and detest formulaic business books then what you need to be doing is picking up a copy of ‘How to Lead a Quest’ from Dr Jason Fox.

I don’t think I’ve ever described a business/strategy/change book as an ‘exciting read’ but here I am breaking tradition and loudly exclaiming that this book is a must read – especially, if like me, you benefit greatly from someone taking incredibly complex ideas and making them much easier to understand. #ImNotThatSmart

The added benefit of this book is the author actually manages to not only explain those complex ideas well, but make you feel like you’re now one of the smart people in the room for having read it. (I do love feeling like I’m part of a smart people’s club!)

Highlights for me (aside from Dangerlam’s awesome artwork throughout the book which greatly added to my understanding of some pretty imaginative concepts) was the blend of research-based thinking with application to many things that you run into in business when you’re intent on doing things differently.

‘Planning to Fail’ (and navigating the 9 layers of ‘Fell’/Failure Hell) is absolute gold in helping explain the failure you should celebrate (failed experiments), the failure you need to change (process inadequacy), and the failure you shouldn’t celebrate at all (apathy).

I want to provide an insightful critique here (because how else would I feel smart?) but I can’t. This book is perfection right down to the footnotes that appear at nearly the end of every page. For example, when discussing ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ and that your strategy shouldn’t be hiding behind layers of hierarchy or deep within documents on the intranet, Jason notes “[1] If this is the case, if people can’t find a good breakfast – they’ll default to whatever is easily available – like sticking a teaspoon into that dubious jar of peanut butter. Or that old set of performance metrics that is familiar and yet no longer aligned to the new strategy.”

How often has ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ been written about (so many times it is bordering on becoming a work wank word) and yet suddenly it feels relevant. Contextualizing ideas in ways that leads to intelligent conversation is a fine art and one that this book repeats again, again and again.

 

Originally published on LinkedIn