August 31st, 2015
How effective is your learning? Tips on assessing the effectiveness of Online Training
In organizations, training is a constant activity. And with more and more organizations adopting online training, the reach and availability of training is increasing manifold. But what about its effectiveness – Can that be measured or quantified?
There are many ways to ascertain the effectiveness of online training across an organization. In most cases, choosing just one way might not be enough. A blend of two or more approaches works better to understand the different aspects that constitute effectiveness of training. Choosing the right way depends on the type of content and the learner profile, as well as the organizational objectives that helped conceptualize and implement the training. With the right kind of LMS and various interactivities incorporated within the content, there is a lot that can be measured.
A good and effective LMS should be able to track user data and give inputs on the courses started, finished or left mid-way. Modern LMSs are also equipped to ascertain the learners’ activity within a course and point out sections in the course where the learner spent more time or which he skipped altogether. This provides a guide to the learner’s preferred learning styles and can help chart a more personalized learning plan for him to increase the effectiveness of training.
Informal Assessments within an e-course
Informal assessments like quizzes and short tests are commonly used within an e-course to ascertain its effectiveness and also help learners monitor their own progress. Mostly, the results are given instantly and this helps re-enforce learning. Most e-courses allow multiple attempts of a particular test or quiz. By assessing the results of a learner’s scores, his or her progress can surely be measured effectively. If the scores are low and the difference between the initial and final scores is not much, it could be an indicator that the training is not making its due impact and a different learning path might be best for the learner.
Formal Assessments within an e-course
Most courses are designed to deliver pertinent knowledge to a learner group. To make sure that the knowledge transfer has been successful, formal tests are conducted that constitute multiple-choice and true/false questions as well as cognitive assessments. Formal assessments are also an eye-opener to the effectiveness of leaning within a group of learners. Comparing scores of different learners can point to the need-gaps of training for certain kind of learners within the group.
Sometimes learning effectiveness cannot be quantified, especially when the learning objectives aim to make changes in behavior or attitudes, like most soft-skills e-courses do. Scenario-based activities can successfully ascertain if an e-course has been able to make suitable changes in behavior or attitudes by presenting scenarios to the learners and then assessing their responses. These assessments are very popular among learners as they provide food for thought. Effective training courses also share divergent views of a learner group among all learners to help generate fruitful dialogue on online social platforms as well. This increases the overall appeal and effectiveness of training as learners come together, discuss and learn from each other.
Finally, we can also use the age-old mechanism of measuring the impact of learning – by asking the learners themselves. Going by Donald Kirpatrick’s popular training evaluation model (http://www.businessballs.com/kirkpatricklearningevaluationmodel.htm), we can gather data on four levels –
- Reaction: How do learners respond to the course?
- Learning: What did they learn?
- Transfer: What changes will they make while back on the job?
- Result: What are the business outcomes that are seen resulting from the learners’ performance?
Questionnaires can be created to ascertain these – within the confines of the LMS. Most modern LMSs can successfully conduct surveys or polls and can quickly analyze them to provide a suitable measure of effectiveness of an online training.
In summary, yes, it is possible to assess the effectiveness of online training. All that you need to keep in mind that the best way to do it is to employ a flexible structure of measurement to suit changing learning objectives as well as varying content and learner profiles. Assessing effectiveness not only helps to ascertain if the training objectives have been achieved but also helps create better learning resources for the organization. Our proprietary WiZDOM LMS is equipped with robust mechanisms to help you measure the effectiveness of online training. For queries or a free demo, write to firstname.lastname@example.org