Tips for evaluating your training program
You may have spent hours developing and practicing your training program, but you also need to devote some time and effort to how you will evaluate the results of your training. Evaluations can help you improve your skills, increase learner engagement, and identify opportunities to offer additional training.
Evaluations require three major actions: deciding what you’re going to measure, measuring it, then adjusting the product based on the results. How you collect feedback isn’t as important as gathering data you can and will put to use. It really doesn’t matter if you present learners with a Likert scale or simple agree/disagree statements as long as you have a purpose for your evaluation and know how you’ll act upon the results.
While evaluations can help identify content or delivery problems, they also present you in a positive light by letting learners know that you care about their experience and about your own performance. It helps to measure the effectiveness of your training so you’ll be able to justify the expense of training to stakeholders, if necessary.
Did you meet your training goals?
First, you will want to measure how well the training meets the specific goals you or the sponsor have for it. If you did even a quick needs assessment, you can use this to guide your survey.
For example, if you offered Everything DiSC Workplace toimprove communication on a team, you might ask learners to rate their learning on topics such as these:
- I understand how the DiSC styles of my teammates affect how they communicate with me.
- I gained insights into how to effectively respond to the style priorities of my teammates.
- I find it easier to explain how to more effectively communicate with me.
- I believe that I will respond to teammates better in the future.
- I believe team discussions will be more fruitful in the future.
- I better understand how to effectively communicate with our team leader.
- I discovered a few reasons why our team has had communication problems in the past.
- I learned a few options on how to better communicate with my team.
- I can confidently use people-reading skills to help me communicate with the people our team serves.
How was the content?
- I was able to understand the content presented.
- I believe that I will use the content of today’s training in the future.
- The videos added to my understanding.
- Time spent in small group discussions helped me better understand how I can apply the concepts introduced.
- Getting my profile report in advance prepared me for our first session.
- The content sparked my curiosity to learn more.
- I’m eager to put today’s training to use.
- The content was new to me.
- The content was relevant to my needs (or the needs of the group).
- This training was worth my time.
How was your performance?
A lively and personable trainer can make a session more enjoyable. Consider how to discover if your preparation and delivery helped or hindered your learner. You can ask learners to respond to statements such as:
- I understood why I was asked to take the assessment or finish the pre-work assignment(s).
- I understood the goals of today’s training.
- I felt heard during training. I felt able to ask questions and to speak up.
- The course was paced appropriately for me.
- The trainer was well-informed about the content.
- The trainer understood how to use their technology.
- The trainer helped us gain insights into the content (or concepts or procedures) covered.
- The trainer made the session engaging.
How was the setting or platform?
Ask about any element you’re able to control for your next training. This could be about any of the following:
- Physical space (lighting, parking availability, seating, etc.)
- Virtual space (delivery platform used, break-out rooms, video, etc.)
- Day or time offered
- Length of training
- Technology used (videos, slides, video chat, closed captioning, etc.)
Also consider asking:
- What could be done to make this training easier for you to participate in?
- Were there any barriers to learning that you had to overcome in this training?
What about the future?
- Would you recommend this training to a new team member or colleague?
- How impactful will this workshop be on your work in the next 3 months?
- What would need to be changed before you would recommend this training to others?
- What will you share with others about this training?
- Would you like to receive a refresher training in six months?
- Would you like to receive more in-depth training in the future?
- Do you need anything more to help you apply your learning?
- How do you feel the learning will benefit you and your team?
- Can I contact you in two weeks to ask how you’ve applied your learning?
- Would you like to receive follow-up newsletters (or emails, reminders, etc.) about this content?
Independent training consultants
Evaluations can be a good source of testimonials or of showing your value to potential clients. Receive a great set of evaluations? Share those with your client and then ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn. If you’re going to use your evaluations in this way, consider asking more open-ended questions to elicit answers worth sharing.
When collecting your evaluations, suggest to learners that they might want to share their DiSC or Five Behaviors results or their learning experience with others on social media and ask that they tag you if they do.
Short and actionable
We’ve offered many more questions than you’ll want to use in a single evaluation form. Keep yours as short as it can be to still be meaningful. If you won’t take action based on a question’s result or the result won’t show the value of your training, then don’t ask the question.
Consider testing your questions by sharing them with another trainer or the sponsor of the training. This can help you catch typos and confusing language. And don't forget to thank those who complete your evaluation.
The final step for any evaluation is doing something with the feedback you receive. Will you tweak the content? How can you improve? What do you want to try to do differently? Is there a way to follow up on the training to reinforce the content? Is there a comment or result you should share with stakeholders?
Beware of relying on your own sense of how well a training went. Your comfort or enjoyment might indicate that it went well, but it’s also possible that no real learning occurred. A good evaluation is an essential tool to use for your own learning and success.