Sep 132011

Training Evaluation: Seven Key Principles in Adoption Training Evaluation

Training Evaluation: By Dave Basarab, V.A.L.E. Consulting on Mon, Sep 05, 2011
Whenever we perform training evaluations, whether as an external consultant or as an employee, we need to follow the standards for evaluation as laid out by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation.  I was lucky enough to be an adjunct committee member in the early 90s and have done my best to apply these standards throughout the years.

Having done so many training evaluations (externally and as an employee) I have concluded that there are seven principles in conjunction with the standards, which I use to guide successful evaluations.  I am glad to share then with you – enjoy.

Principle 1: Training is no longer the only solution.  So many things in the work environment affect employee performance so that when we evaluate training we need to uncover these and factor them into our evaluation activities.

Principle 2: Things as are always going on – uncover it.  Employees learn in variety of ways other than our training programs.  Such as coaching, mentoring, from each other informally, and most prevalent actual work experience.  I acknowledge these and probe and investigate to find and understand them.

Principle 3: Uncover training’s success by asking what is not happening.  By understanding what employees are not doing after training completion points to possible instructional design flaws and/or work environment conditions that inhibit adoption.  Another element may be that employees do not belief that what they learned will aid them, their team, or the company that stalls training transfer.

Principle 4: Always evaluate to improve not prove.  Our fundamental purpose should be to evaluate so that we can make our training programs and adoptive environments as successful as possible rather than proving something.

Principle 5: The client owns the business, performance, and work environment issues. We own the sharing of what we find.  As evaluators we find the good, bad, and the ugly with respect to training adoption.  We have the responsibility to share these with our clients – to be the conscious of the organization but fully understand that only clients have the power to take corrective actions.

Principle 6: Root cause drive solutions.  Uncovering the root causes for unsuccessful adoption allows us to figure out what is really causing this situation to occur and make suggestions to remove it so the situation does not occur again, thus increasing adoption.

Principle 7: Seek insights on solutions from successful performers.  If you have low adoption you most likely have some successful adoption by employees.  These people have figured out how to use what we teach and in a successful fashion. Talk to them and uncover what they have done – it usually points to solutions that will increase adoption.


To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

training evaluation, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC