Hard Numbers or Soft Feedback?
What is your argument? Do you have a stat on that fact? What do the employees think? Questions from management can be many and varied, when they want an evaluation of learning content - or just a straight answer.
Oral, qualitative feedback from learners and the management themselves is usually the way HR professionals in the Nordic countries measure their learning outcomes (54 percent). And it is, of course, a good idea to get some feedback on the learning content. But, at the same time, it is more time-consuming, than just looking at the stats and analytics from the learning platform - if the learning content is sent out to learners this way.
The sum of it all - hard numbers or soft feedback aside - it is crucial to measure learning outcomes, because it is difficult to improve learning content and processes if not. More than 25 percent of respondents in Learningbank's Nordic Learning Trends 2020 do not measure the outcomes at all, and it is of course understandable, if the process itself seems cumbersome. With the right tools however, measuring learning outcomes can be piece of cake.
Before you Start
Start before you even design the content itself. Ask yourself as part of this first step: “What are the objectives of taking this learning module?“ Ask: “How is this learning connected to our business goals?” Asking this question and answering it as well could make a great business case for future learning programs
Choose the Solution to Measure
Now, it is time to choose a solution to measure and evaluate the learning. Do you use a learning platform? Think about what integrations you already have built-in your platform to get the analytics and stats you need, or think about upgrading your platform. Another solution is to send out evaluation as a learning module itself for learners to complete if you use a learning platform. If you do not use a learning platform evaluations can be created and sent out through several survey sites online.
Tip: Send out a quiz about the subject before AND after learners complete the learning. In that way you see if learners have improved and retained the knowledge.
The Scientific Approach
A more scientific approach to measure and improve learning is to take a closer look at Kirkpatrick’s model of measuring learning from 1996.
- Stage 1 - Reaction: Watch your learners initial reaction on the learning content. Ask the questions: Did the learners enjoy the content? And was it valuable for their work? If not it is very unlikely they will pay attention to the learning content in the future.
- Stage 2 - Learning: Did the learners gain new useful knowledge or developed new mindsets? This stage can tend to be more time-consuming, but worth your while. An example could be using a control group to see if learners improved or not. Remember to map the findings to your learning objectives.
- Stage 3 - Behavioral change: How do learners apply the new learning in their jobs? Are the new knowledge practiced at the workplace? Use online evaluations, do interviews, or carry out observations to measure the learning impact.
- Stage 4 - Organizational Performance: Return to the question: How did the learning have a positive outcome in relation to specific business goals? Was the learning successful in terms of lowering spending ressources? A higher ROI? A better product? Fewer accidents in the workplace? Time to performance?