May 182011

Training Evaluation: So When do You Predict Training’s Value?

Training Evaluation: Posted by Dave Basarab, V.A.L.E.Consulting, on Tue, May 17, 2011

Training Evaluation: To start, you need to choose a course on which you want to perform a Predictive Evaluation (PE). That course (training) is in one of two states: it is a new course in the design phase or an existing course that you plan to continue (deliver in the future). Note: you may also have a course that is being redesigned. In any case, you want to predict future business results to aid the company in deciding to (1) move forward with the training because the predicted results are attractive, (2) use predictions to alter training design, or (3) decide not to train (cancel the instructional design or stop teaching the existing course). You are providing key decision makers with information so that they can weigh all the possibilities to make an informed decision on the training investment.

A word of caution—predicting training value is not a substitute for sound instructional design. It is in fact a valuable input into the design process. Most course design and development efforts use some version of the ADDIE model— a systematic instructional design process consisting of five phases: (1) Analysis, (2) Design, (3) Development, (4) Implementation, and (5) Evaluation. This figure shows how to integrate PE into the ADDIE model. Note: the Evaluation section of the ADDIE model has been replaced with PE.
The first step in instructional design is the Analysis phase. During analysis, the designer identifies the learning problem, the goals and objectives, the audience’s needs, existing knowledge, and any other relevant characteristics. Analysis also considers the learning environment, any constraints, the delivery options, and the timeline for the project. All of these elements are input to the Design phase and the predicting activities.

The Design phase is the systematic process of specifying learning objectives. Detailed design documents are created to provide a blueprint for the development phase. With this, you have a solid idea of what the course is going to look like (classroom, online learning, workshop, agenda, target audience, length, learning activities, etc.).

During prediction efforts, the course design may need to change to ensure that training delivers the desired Intention, Adoption, and Impact. As the design changes, predictions may be modified so that there is direct alignment between course design and predictions. This cycle repeats until the Steering Committee and the designer are satisfied. The PE output of this work is the Impact Matrix, which documents predicted value. The matrix is presented to key decision makers as the forecast of training return; then, using this information, they decide whether to move forward with the training efforts. Using the Impact Matrix, they know what they are investing in, who will be trained over what period, the new performance that their employees will have, results the new performance will deliver, and the cost (investment) to achieve this.

If you have built your training business case well and it is approved, the Develop phase of instructional design begins. This entails the actual creation (production) of the content and learning materials based on the Design phase. In other words, the course is created based on the design specification and in alignment with the predictions.

After the course is developed, instructional design’s Implementation phase is performed. During implementation, the program is launched and procedures for training the participant and instructors are implemented. Implementation usually starts with a pilot or a series of pilots to test the course, review results, and modify the course as needed. During the pilot period, you collect Intention data (goals and beliefs), judge them, and calculate the Intention Score. The Intention results, along with Level 1 survey results and the instructional designer’s observation, form the basis for determining what changes are needed and whether the course is ready for full implementation.

After pilot, ongoing delivery takes place—with Intention, Adoption, and Impact evaluations being conducted as planned.


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