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6 Proven Methods to Measure the Impact of Your Training

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, and it won’t be the last: employee training is crucial. 

And every day, companies invest more capital into employee development. However, you don’t know if your investment is paying off without a way to track the success of your L&D strategies

Take the guesswork out of employee development: use these six methods to measure training effectiveness. 

Understanding training effectiveness

Companies must know whether their employee development and training programs are successful, so measuring effectiveness is vital. It examines the program’s impact on learners’ skills, performance, and knowledge. 

Tracking also measures the return on investment (ROI). Training effectiveness determines whether the learning program reached its intended objectives and realized the expected outcomes.

Therefore, it’s essential to establish the goals of the training beforehand. Organizations should track several evaluation metrics to measure training effectiveness, including information retention, performance improvement, and completion rates. This will help organizations understand whether the development program generates the desired results and meets the intended goals.

Advantages of measuring training effectiveness

Here are a few benefits of tracking your training initiatives:

  • Increased worker performance. Organizations that consistently measure training effectiveness can identify critical areas for staff improvement. For example, they could pinpoint a specific thing some workers struggle with and help them feel competent and confident with newfound skills. Happy employees are 20% more productive than their counterparts.
  • Enhanced employee satisfaction and retention: High-quality training could increase overall retention rates and enhance employee satisfaction. This is in companies’ best interests since replacing workers can cost up to 150% of their annual salary. These programs let workers know the organization cares about them and wants them to improve. 
  • Improved ROI: Companies must invest several resources to provide staff with the necessary training. Tracking the effectiveness helps them understand whether the current strategies produce a positive ROI. This way, they can gauge the program’s success and implement measures to improve training where necessary. 
  • Empowered succession planning: Companies evaluating their programs’ effectiveness can track employee performance. This helps leadership identify staff members who might be well-suited for leadership roles.

Why is it vital to measure training effectiveness?

Organizations that don’t measure their training programs’ effectiveness are left wondering whether they’re working and their ROI is paying off. Also, tracking training efforts helps to identify possible challenges employees experience with the program.

Here’s a quick summary of why companies should focus on measuring training effectiveness:

  • To find and fix problems with the development program
  • To determine the ROI and analyze the learning initiatives’ success
  • To understand whether the training provided truly benefits employees 
  • To help improve worker retention

How to measure training effectiveness: 6 proven methods

Companies are investing more resources to get all the benefits training evaluation offers. 

Here are six of the best ways to measure training effectiveness:

1. Kirkpatrick’s 4-level training evaluation model

As the name suggests, the Kirkpatrick evaluation model uses four levels to accurately measure training effectiveness. It’s one of the most widely used evaluation methods.

  • Level 1: Reaction. The first level is understanding how learners felt about the training. The organization provides trainees with feedback forms that allow them to express how satisfied they are with the program. For example, they can pay attention to metrics like completion and participation rates and ask questions such as: 
    • What part of the training did you find informative and valuable?
    • What aspects of the development program would you change or improve?
  • Level 2: Learning: Level two identifies what people learned from the program. Typically, companies do this through short quizzes, after-training interviews, or practical tests.
  • Level 3: Behavior: This stage occurs well after the employees have received the training. It examines whether they apply the knowledge they have learned on the job. Companies do this by observing staff and conducting reviews.
  • Level 4: Results: The last level evaluates whether the training program provided the intended results and met the organization’s expectations—companies compare their initial expectations with the outcomes to see if the training was successful. These are the metrics and the outcomes businesses want to achieve before conducting the program. For example, these could entail improved sales frequency, fewer workplace accidents, or completing work assignments faster and with a higher degree of efficiency.

Put into practice 

A SaaS company wants to improve customer satisfaction. It uses two employee pools—one provided with training and one without. 

To test results, the company compares the groups to see if there’s higher efficiency or any other patterns. It uses metrics such as the number of client queries completed and customer experience ratings—of both work groups—to analyze if the training was successful.

2. The Phillips ROI model

The Phillips ROI model is similar to the Kirkpatrick method. However, it adds a level and further expands on the other stages.

  • Level 1/2: Reaction/learning: Levels one and two are identical to the Kirkpatrick model. They analyze what the workers thought about the training and tests them on what they learned.
  • Level 3: Application and implementation: Level three of the Kirkpatrick model only looks at whether workers implement the knowledge they learned. However, the Phillips ROI model also answers why the training does or doesn’t produce changes in the workspace. It focuses on why it failed or succeeded and provides a reason.
  • Level 4: Impact: This level calculates the impact of the training and what other factors influenced the outcomes.
  • Level 5: Return on investment: Level five determines the company’s ROI. It uses cost-benefit analysis and calculates the value of the training provided. It aids companies in identifying whether the resources invested produced measurable results. 

The Phillips ROI formula: ROI = (Program benefits – Program Costs ROI) / Program Costs) x 100 percent.

Put into practice

A company implemented a training program to improve sales. The program generated $100,000 gross profit or total program benefits, and the organization spent $40,000 to produce the training. 

Using the Phillips ROI model would take costs and subtract them from the program benefits. It would then divide that amount by the total costs again and then multiply it by 100 percent. 

The calculation is ($100,000-$40,000) / $40,000) x 100 percent = a 150 percent ROI.

3. Anderson’s model of learning evaluation

Anderson’s learning model helps organizations identify training strategies based on company needs. 

It follows three stages that align the company’s training goals with its strategic objectives.

  • Stage one: This stage analyzes how the training program aligns with the business’s strategic goals
  • Stage two: The next phase determines how the learning program helped with the company’s strategic objectives
  • Stage three: The final step assesses the most optimal approach for the company. The Anderson model showcases four possible routes for evaluation. These include: 
    • Return on expectation (ROE)
    • Return on investment (ROI)
    • Benchmark and capacity 
    • Learning function measures

Put into practice

The analysis and measurement tools will depend on business goals. For example, companies trying to improve sales should ensure employee training aligns with that objective and shows evidence that sales increased. 

In the next stage, the business would monitor different metrics surrounding sales to understand if there was a positive change, such as the amount of orders received. Lastly, the company would use one of the four evaluation metrics to determine the best approach.  

4. Kaufman’s 5 levels of evaluation

Kaufman’s model roughly follows the same framework as the Kirkpatrick model. 

However, it splits the first level into two sections and adds an additional stage.

  • Level 1A:Input: These are the digital materials used to enhance the training program
  • Level 1B: Process: This stage measures the delivery of the training experience
  • Level 2: Acquisition: Analyzes whether staff obtained the learning materials and if they have applied the knowledge in the workspace
  • Level 3: Application: Level three examines how well staff members apply what they learned
  • Level 4: Organizational payoffs: This measures the company’s payoffs from the training, including employee performance and cost-benefit or cost-consequence analysis
  • Level 5: Societal outcomes: This level looks at the benefits it has provided to society and the company’s clients

Put into practice

A company that follows Kaufman’s model would analyze the training materials separately from program delivery. This would show which parts were successful or not, helping the company choose the best evaluation method.

5. Brinkerhoff’s success case method

This model is a little different than the others. It looks at the most successful and unsuccessful candidates to measure training effectiveness. 

It helps organizations determine how well the development program works by analyzing the best-case/worst-case scenario. It also helps companies find the reasons why training programs didn’t work. 

  • Determine the impact model: The organization must first decide on the impact model. It must determine what training goals would impact performance
  • Identify the most successful and unsuccessful candidates: Next, the organization should find the most successful and unsuccessful candidates based on training performance
  • Gain a deeper understanding: After identifying the best and underperforming employees, the organization must garner a deeper understanding of why the candidates performed the way they did. They can do this by conducting interviews
  • Review the data: Next, the company should analyze and look for factors that impact training effectiveness. There might be several additional components that influence candidates’ performance. They should look for patterns and areas that overlap
  • Implement improvements: After the company has analyzed all the data, it can implement solutions to the challenges identified in step four. This enables them to enhance the components that worked well and remove the ones that did not

Put into practice

A factory wants to implement a new machine to speed up production. In this case, the impact model would enable staff to use the machinery and improve production efficiency. After defining the impact model, the L&D team would develop surveys to find the most successful and unsuccessful candidates. 

The surveys would ask employees if they implemented the information they learned. Next, the company would use interviews to understand why some candidates were successful and others were not. This helps to analyze why the training produced the results it did. 

Next, findings would be shared with stakeholders and changes can be implemented based on results. 

6. The power of HR analytics

Data from your HR and L&D teams is also valuable in measuring training effectiveness. 

Analytics provide insight into completion rates, determine engagement levels, and identify areas for improvement. Tracking these metrics can help your team make data-driven decisions to get the most from your training initiatives and improve employee development.

With the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, you can use advanced reporting to measure team performance and track the effectiveness of your training programs. This can help you determine what’s working and identify areas for improvement in your training programs and eLearning content.

Measuring training effectiveness for improved business operations

Measuring training effectiveness gives organizations important insights to identify factors that hinder training and implement solutions to make programs more effective. 

We’ve uncovered several methods to track training, but the best method depends on company needs and desired outcomes. Regardless of how you track training, collecting the appropriate data will help you modify training initiatives to produce optimal results.

Discover how the Learning Cloud can help you create and deploy engaging training programs and track the right data to measure training effectiveness. Contact us for a free, personalized demo. 


Complete the form for a custom demo.

Zachary Amos

WorkRamp Contributor

Zac Amos is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers HR technology, IT, and automation. His insights have been featured on TalentCulture, AllBusiness, and RecruitingDaily. For more of his work, follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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