Page Revision: 6/15/2011 1:45:29 PM
What is Training Evaluation?
Training evaluation is a continual and systematic process of assessing the value or potential value of training programs to guide decision-making for the program’s future.
When we Evaluate...
We examine the assumptions upon which an existing or proposed training program is based
We inquire, up front, about the expected results of the training program
We create then study the goals and objectives of the program.
We collect information about a program’s inputs and outcomes.
We compare it to some pre-set standards.
We report findings in a manner that facilitates their use.
Agencies are required to evaluate their training programs annually to determine how well such plans and programs contribute to mission accomplishment and meet organizational performance goals (5 CFR 410.202). In addition, demands to demonstrate training program efficiency, program effectiveness and public accountability are increasing. Evaluation can help meet these demands in various ways:
To assess needs.
To set priorities.
To direct allocation of resources.
To guide policy
Analysis of program effectiveness or quality
To determine achievement of project objectives.
To identify strengths and weaknesses of a program.
To determine the cost-effectiveness of a program.
To assess causes of success or failure.
To improve program management and effectiveness.
To identify and facilitate needed change.
To continue expand or terminate a program.
To funding sources.
To the general public.
When to Evaluate
There are several basic questions to ask when deciding whether to carry out an evaluation. If the answers to these questions are "Yes", this may be the time to evaluate.
Is the program important or significant enough to warrant evaluation?
Is there a legal requirement to carry out an evaluation?
Will the results of the evaluation influence decision-making about the program?
Will the evaluation answer questions posed by your stakeholders or those interested in the evaluation?
How To Evaluate
Once you've determined whether or not your program warrants evaluation, there are various methods and models agencies can use to evaluate their training programs. Here are a few of the most popular:
Kirkpatrick 4 Levels:
The four levels of Kirkpatrick's evaluation model essentially measure:
Reaction of trainee - what they thought and felt about the training
Learning - the resulting increase in knowledge or capability
Behavior - extent of behaviour and capability improvement and implementation/application
Results - the effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee's performance
All these levels are recommended for full and meaningful evaluation of learning in organizations.
Jack Phillips' Five Level ROI Model
Building upon the Kirkpatrack model, Jack Phillips added the fifth level the Return On Investment (ROI) produced by a training program using the financial formula:
Robert Brinkerhoff's Success Case Method:
Brinkerhoff's six stage model is a comprehensive evaluation model that incorporates the results oriented aspects of the business and industry models and also the formative, improvement-orientated aspects of educational models (a systems perspective with an emphasis on return on investment).
A basic assumption of the six stage model is that the primary reason for evaluation should be to improve the program (systems perspective).
OPM's Training Evaluation Field Guide
To assist agencies in evaluating their training programs, OPM published the Training Evaluation Field Guide
in 2011. The Training Evaluation Field Guide is designed to assist agency training representatives in evaluating training program effectiveness and in demonstrating training value to stakeholders and decision makers.
Field Guide Development Process
Data and information were gathered from fifteen federal agency representatives who volunteered their time to attend a one-day working meeting, participate in individual interviews and submit samples of their tools and case studies. This Field Guide reflects the input from the working group.
Key Audience and Usage
This Guide is designed for all federal employees who have a role in training evaluation and effectiveness within their agencies.
Specific users for this field guide are:
•Training managers and supervisors
•Any others who have a significant role in training effectiveness
Both Kirkpatrick and Phillips (and maybe others) offer "certifications" in training evaluation, however, a "certified" evaluator is not necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of agency programs. The Training Evaluation Field Guide (linked above) and books on the various methods should provide enough information to successfully evaluate a program.
In addition, the American Evaluation Association (AEA) is an international professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of program evaluation, personnel evaluation, technology, and many other forms of evaluation. Evaluation involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of programs, policies, personnel, products, and organizations to improve their effectiveness. AEA has approximately 5500 members representing all 50 states in the US as well as over 60 foreign countries.
Other Evaluation Resources
Please feel free to add your evaluation methods and tools to this page
Should you desire to look at more evaluation models, there are many to choose from...
Daniel Stufflebeam's CIPP Model (Context, Input, Process, Product)
Robert Stake's Responsive Evaluation Model
Robert Stake's Congruence-Contingency Model
Kaufman's Five Levels of Evaluation
CIRO (Context, Input, Reaction, Outcome)
PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique)
Alkins' UCLA Model
Michael Scriven's Goal-Free Evaluation Approach
Provus's Discrepancy Model
Eisner's Connoisseurship Evaluation Models
Illuminative Evaluation Model