At the reaction level you are measuring whether or not the learners liked the training, whether they feel it was useful, timing, pace, logistics, etc. This is typically conducted via reaction sheets or evaluation forms at the end of a training session. Reaction can also be measured during the actual training event simply by asking the learners how they feel. This is the most basic level of evaluation and is important. If the learners don’t feel the training was useful, they certainly won’t use it!
At the learning level of evaluation, we are concerned with measuring whether or not the learners actually learned what they were supposed to. This is another reason to have well established learning objectives. Learning is typically measured via pre and post-test; although, this may also be measured other ways such as demonstration, especially with psychomotor skills.
For instance, if you are training someone on forklift safety, you may want to test them of their knowledge of the subject via written pre and post-test, and you may also want to test them on their ability via live demonstration. One of the mistakes made with learning level evaluation is failure to establish a benchmark. In order to truly measure the learning that has taken place, you must have a pre-session evaluation to determine what they currently know and then test immediately after the session to evaluate what they learned compared to the benchmark.
At this level, we answer the question, “Are they using their skills or did behavior change?” This type of evaluation may be conducted several different ways such as observation, talking to the learners about their experiences, talking to others who could give you feedback, or obtained through detailed application exercises where learners document changed behaviors.
Expected outcomes should be defined in stage one. Then, you can measure against them. Depending on what you are measuring, you don’t always want to look at pure numbers. For instance, if a salesperson tells me that they landed a competitive account worth $500,000 that they wouldn’t have considered calling on prior to learning new skills that is a direct measure from the training. Or, if employees tell you through employee interviews or survey that after effective feedback training, a manager is much more responsive and caring at work, that’s quantifiable!
Reaction Evaluation Level
• Feedback Sheets
Transfer Evaluation Level
• Usage Surveys
• Secret Shopper
• Peer Surveys
• Customer Interviews
Learning Evaluation Level
• Pre vs. Post Knowledge Assessment
Impact Evaluation Level
• Increases in accounts
• Increases in customer satisfaction
• Increases in comfort levels with new skills
• Increased internal referrals
(This is directly related to the desired outcomes. Therefore, specific measurement tools will vary.)