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.

 

Facilitator

Team Retreats – What’s the Point?

Team Retreats I was recently asked to participate in a specialist department’s retreat – I know I know, ‘retreat’ is often a catch-all we use to either shove a tonne of information down unsuspecting employee’s throats or a flowery-feel good waste of time (and often company funds). But then I spoke to the team manager and to be honest I was inspired about the refreshing point of view and clear objectives this manager had set for her team. It made me reflect on the potential for these types of sessions when they are approached in (what I think) is the right way. The ‘Right’ Way? The ‘Right’ way is not:

  • Using the retreat for an excuse to get the team together to pump out work – actually, you can do this in the office, or in a planning day type situation
  • Using the retreat to do naff team building activities with no real objective or purpose. Yeah – team building is great, but if you’re spending 2 days of your team’s time offsite there should be real purpose to your plan

But the ‘Right’ way can be:

  • A good understanding of what issues in the team/work performance need to be addressed
  • Thought through objectives for the retreat – what is realistic to address/accomplish and what is not
  • What is the plan longer-term – addressing topics at a retreat is well and good, but if you don’t have a follow-through plan (and actually action it) you may as well not bother.

I’m off on Tuesday afternoon to observe how this team accomplishes their objectives – they are working to Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which I’m really enjoying so far as at tool to help identify issues and provide a discourse to address them in a safe environment. I’ll keep you posted!

Facilitator

To Ensure Your Facilitator Isn’t *@#^ Try Thinking About This

bad-speakerWe’ve all done it.

Attended a training session, a workshop or a conference and the person running the show is *@#^. You try to be nice and think that maybe they’re using a style that doesn’t sit well with you, or there’s some point to all this that you’re not yet seeing, but as time goes on you realise they they’re just a bit lame.

A facilitator who is too ‘ME ME ME!’, too reticent to take the reigns or is trying to be too quirky… these are all traits that have blown otherwise well-planned sessions out of the water, leaving the organisers (and participants) crying into their bamboo coffee cups at the conference. “Why didn’t we just go with Sarah, she’s so reliable” they moan, regretting the decision to employ the zany Jarred, who promised an exciting and engaging session – later realising that the dodgy Marvin the Martian tie should have given him away.

So how do you walk the line between engaging and nail-biting?

If you’re considering using a new facilitator – reference check them as you would any new hire. Make sure you ask probing questions of the referees; “In retrospect, was there anything about X’s style that may have made participants uncomfortable/unengaged?”. Think about what you’re employing them to do – a motivating talk to senior managers requires a very different person than a facilitated session for a specialist team discussing poor engagement survey responses. Talk to people who have used the facilitator for a purpose similar to yours.

My best piece of advice? When you’re at conferences and networking events take the cards of people who you find engaging, you never know when knowing a person with a particular passion for a topic of choice will come in handy.