Jun 172011

Training Evaluation: Managing the Evaluation Function – Blog 1: The Function’s Purpose

Training Evaluation: By Dave Basarab, V.A.L.E. Consulting, Jun 13, 2011
Over the next few blog posts I will be providing my thoughts on Managing the Evaluation Function within Training & Development. Having led this function for many years as the evaluation manager or head of learning, I think I can offer pragmatic suggestions that lead to success.

My first post deals with The Training Evaluation Function’s Purpose. I believe that the purpose of the Training Evaluation function is to set the evaluation strategy for Training and Development (T&D) and the routinely to carry out that strategy a part of the mission of T&D.  As you are forming your Training Evaluation function, consider these things:

  • What is the vision of the function? A vision statement takes into account the current status of the function, and serves to point the direction of where the organization wishes to go.  It is a means of setting a central goal that the organization will aspire to reach; the vision statement helps to provide a focus for the mission of training evaluation.  It is not about what the function currently is, but what the training evaluation function hopes to become.  Here is a sample Training Evaluation function vision: “We aspire to be the preeminent evaluation function in corporate Training and Development and to set the standard by which other institutions measure success.” A good vision statement should be short/succinct, inspiring, and describes aspirations for the future without specifying the means.
  • What is the mission of the training evaluation function?  The mission statement clarifies the essence of Training Evaluation’s existence. It describes the needs the function was created to fill and answers the basic question of why it exists. A sample is: “Our mission is to (1) promote sound training and development; (2) provide quality evaluation services, products, and programs; (3) deliver innovative training evaluation solutions; and (4) support the vision/mission of the company and the Training & Development function.”  
  • What values will it operate under? Organizational values define the acceptable standards that govern the behavior of individuals within the Training Evaluation function. Without such values, individuals will pursue behaviors that are in line with their own individual value systems, which may lead to behaviors that the organization doesn’t wish to encourage.  These values must mirror those followed by the company and the Training & Development function.
  • How will evaluation information be used?  This is central to the success of any Training Evaluation function.  I believe that evaluation information is always used to improve the learning function.  How do we make our courses better and provide insight on how the company can best use these resources?  If evaluation data are strong and show good results then use it to further the training function.  When evaluation are weak and point out that the training function and/or the company can do things to improve results, then promote that with equal or great zeal.
  • Formative evaluation, summative evaluation, or both?  Another fundamental question that needs answering is this one. I have always believed that the Training Evaluation could and should do both.

In upcoming posts, I will discuss:

  • Work process for training evaluation
  • Staffing the evaluation function
  • Funding/budgeting for training evaluation
  • What to evaluateAligning training evaluation with the rest of Training & Development



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, tsm@centurytel.net; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

training evaluation, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC