Despite the changing economic environment in recent years, it seems like a great deal of businesses remain committed to learning and development. According to ASTD, the Association for Talent Development, US organisations spend a total of $164.2 billion on training per year. The State of the Industry report also revealed:
- Businesses spend on average $1,195 per employee.
- Employees average 30.3 hours of training annually, while members of staff in BEST organisations average 57.7 hours.
- 61 per cent of training expenditure was internal ($100.2 billion).
- 11 per cent of training expenditure went to tuition reimbursement ($18 billion).
- Technology-based delivery of instruction made up 39 per cent of formal hours.
This survey of 475 organisations found that senior managers know how important a highly skilled workforce is, as it can be a strategic differentiator. In order to deliver learning, businesses are using both technology and instructor-led training as well as blended solutions to meet the modern-day challenges of teaching employees.
But while high levels of expenditure and ever-changing teaching methods prove that several organisations hold training in high regard, arguably the most pivotal question to ask is: In the end, is it all worth it?
If you don't measure training effectiveness, you’ll never know whether your employees actually learn anything. Regardless of the money you invested or time it took to train members of staff, simply assuming that your workforce is now more competent and capable is quite foolish and can be incredibly harmful to the business.
However, the ways in which an employee can be assessed or evaluated are varied. Traditionally, measurement was based on multiple-choice questions or an exam at the end of training. But this only focused on short-term retention of knowledge, so there was no real way of knowing whether an employee could effectively apply recently acquired skills and expertise in a working environment.
Instead, measurement should be focused around the individual’s capacity to carry out a particular task or duty and not whether they can pass a test. If businesses know that members of staff are comfortable and confident in their roles, then the investment of time, energy and resources on training will all be worth it.
By their own admission, learning and development professionals have often struggled to find effective measurement methods, but it is still possible….
Visual confirmation and implementing technology
Measuring training effectiveness has to move with the times, which means greater integration of technology. Even so, this doesn’t mean to say traditional demonstration techniques become less useful or effective.
Let’s take role-playing for example. Traditionally, this would show whether an employee could carry out a certain duty in a made-up scenario. But now members of staff can actually carry out the task in real-life and provide visual confirmation that it can be completed. Due to the rise of smartphones and tablets, an employee can take pictures or even stream video of them in their role. With access to this content, a training manager will know for sure that the teaching and tuition has worked.
Greater adoption of technology is something we promote here at Wranx. Our training solution is available on both desktop and mobile, enabling employees to learn at home or in the workplace with minimal intrusion. What’s more, our e-learning content is hosted in the cloud, so it can be accessed conveniently from anywhere.
If training was successful, then employees should technically be experts of the subject in question. But by asking your workforce to take social ownership and teach others, their true level of mastery will become apparent.
For an employee to teach others about a particular topic or theme, they will need to clearly show how training concepts can be applied to their role in the real world. From this, training managers can decide how well their teaching is being applied within the business. Workers that teach each other will be forced to engage with the job in hand, collaborate to find solutions to problems but most importantly, call upon their previous training.
Wranx also believes in bringing employees together, as cooperation and competition can have immeasurable training benefits. With gamification, we give trainees the opportunity to earn over 300 different achievements and encourage employees to battle with their peers. Rankings and leader boards push individuals to improve while measuring training effectiveness at the same time.
Skill assessments and analytical investigation
Visual confirmations can also be used to assess an employee’s skill set before and after training has been carried out. By identifying the specific areas in which you want to train members of staff, it is easier to gain an overall idea of learning success.
For example, you could see how skilful an employee is at selling prior to training. Once weaknesses have been identified, appropriate tuition can take place and after this has been carried out, the same test should be applied. With greater data analytics now available for any organisation, in-depth details about the effectiveness of teaching techniques and knowledge retention can be studied and scrutinised.
This is something that has not gone unnoticed by Wranx and our deep-dive reporting facility enables you to discover real world actionable metrics. Information about enrolment and activity, timing and durations, cohort knowledge retention rates, predicted course completion dates, cost and time saved as well as employee rankings is readily available. Therefore, you’ll gain a thoroughly comprehensive picture of whether training was effective or not.
With so much time, effort and money being put into training by numerous organisations, there needs to be an effective way of knowing whether it was all worth it. Unfortunately, several businesses seem to be more concerned with the actual teaching rather than discovering whether employees learnt anything.
But by adopting modern techniques and utilising the latest technology, any entrepreneur or enterprise can determine the successfulness of training. Although seeing a return on investment is important, knowing that employees have progressed and developed should be the overriding priority.