In our training and development studies we spend a lot of time discussing the need for proper measurement and evaluation of employee learning or training programs. While these discussions may be theoretical in nature, it is critical to find resources and supports that provide us with practical strategies to be applied in the ‘real world’ that exists beyond the classroom.
The American-based Association for Talent Development (ATD) is one of the many resources used by learning and training professionals around the globe. Recently, ATD posted some very practical advice on how organizations can use data analytics effectively to track, monitor, and evaluate the success of employee learning, training, and development programs.
As noted in both articles, the methodology for determining what types of learning or training data should be collected and used for evaluation purposes is fairly simple. It follows the basic practice of asking the 5W questions (Who? What? Where? When? Why?) from the beginning of the planning process for collecting, monitoring, and evaluating data in order to ensure the effectiveness of learning and development programs. In fact, both articles suggest using the 5W framework in order to perform a data-based needs analysis.
As we have learned elsewhere in our training and development studies, the needs analysis process is one of the critical first steps that must be taken when applying the structure of the Instructional Systems Design (ISD) model. It is both comforting and encouraging to note that these theoretical tools do make the transition into the practical application of processes that evaluate learning and training programs. When used effectively, they also provide the path to organizational outcomes that drive and thrive on data-based decision making.
Keep your textbooks, the need for data-based evaluation is real.
- How does your current workplace keep track of employee learning and development?
- How would you apply the needs analysis process to training-related data collection for your current workplace?
- As an employee, how do you know what types of training or learning programs you are required to achieve? Who is responsible for keeping track of your professional learning plans?
- How can an organization’s Human Resource Management System (HRMS) be used to track and measure organizational learning and development programs? What types of employee learning and training data do you think should be collected through the HRMS?