Evaluating your training program, Part 1: Train for results, not grades

Published on:

November 9, 2016

Read time:

5 minutes

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Evaluating your training program series:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Defining success for your eLearning program

“I know you need to do well on the final exam to move on in your programs, but here are my goals for you…”

As many high school or college instructors can attest, students tend to prioritize grades above all else. As many instructors can attest, announcements like the one above tend to be met with surprise.

What do you mean the goal is not doing well on the test? Isn’t that the point of education?

Sadly, instructional designers will often build courses to help students pass the test, teachers teach for the test, and students learn for the test. Corporate and organizational training has got itself into basically the same loop as well. You need to show that learners are learning… that must mean that they do well on the test, right?

Begin with the end in mind

I’m guessing that you haven’t thought about developing training so that learners can get a high mark on a test. I’m guessing you are considering training in order to improve some organizational result, such as reduce safety incidents or increase profitability. Even designing training that teaches a new procedure has these larger results at the centre. You must have developed the new procedure for a reason. You need to keep that reason in mind as you decide what your new training program will look like.

Once you know what organizational result you want to affect, you need to determine what the behavioural and performance outcomes are that will help you to achieve that result. Perhaps having your delivery staff learn how to drive differently – accelerate slowly, turn the car off when waiting, checking the tire pressure – will save your organization on both fuel and vehicle replacement costs.

This is what you need to consider before you develop any training program: What are the broader goals (levels 3 and 4 if you follow The Kirkpatrick Model) that the training should help you achieve? Only then can you come up with some plans on how to get there.

There is some key information that will help you to develop a training program that will achieve the desired organizational result through behavioural and performance outcomes. We have created a Gap Analysis Worksheet to identify that information.

Working through the questions will help you to identify your target learners, determine what content needs to be included in the training, and what individuals need to be involved. It will also assist you in identifying those organizational, behavioural, and performance goals. This will help you during development, but it will also help you to evaluate the training once it is in place, something that is helpful when you are asked to justify the need for a training budget.


Download the Gap Analysis Worksheet, or visit our Resource hub to browse our growing library of online testing and training guides, articles, webinars and white papers.


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