Training, like any other organizational activity, requires money, time and energy. It is a significant investment that results in employee development, succession planning and internal promotion. It is therefore imperative for employers to know if the investment made on training will bring out the most desirable outcome. Training evaluation means assessing the impacts that training has on the performance and behaviors of employees. This help organizations to ensure that their investment on training will not be a waste of resources since research has established that only 10% of training results in the desired behavior (Eseryel, 2002). However, the task of training evaluation may also be complex since it entails diverse and ongoing interactions of training attributes such as the training situation, instructional technologies, trainees, attributes of the organization and the training goals. Due to such complexities different training models are have been used to address the complexities. This research paper seeks to discuss the new techniques used in training evaluation. The main models that will be discussed include the IPO, evaluation of end user technique and the computerized automated evaluation technics.
Review of Literature
The IPO model
The Input Process Output is a training evaluation model that was introduced in 1990. The evaluation process used in this model has three stages. Foshay & Tinkey (2007) asserts that this model was designed for the purpose of confronting and solving the problems associated with training. The model provides a clear distinction between the output (comprising of the benefits that are short term) and the outcomes (which include long-term benefits which are however crucial in determining the future training resources). The first stage is the Input which provides indicators of various complexities such as the qualifications of the trainee, the appropriateness of training and availability of all the materials necessary before starting the training. According to Topno (2012), the process of evaluating system performance is significant as it gives the organization a perspective on whether all the necessities for the training are available. This help organizations to avoid the last-minute rash when the training has already kicked off. Foshay & Tinkey (2007) adds on the same by stating that this also helps organizations to understand areas that needs more investments before starting the training.
The next level is the phase which entails planning, development of training designs and delivery of the programs. Evaluation carried out by Topno (2012) shows that this level is also significant in helping the human resource department and the management to know how to allocate resources for better results. It is at this point that the trainers decide the amount of money to be allocated in each sector of the training program, the trainer, the technique to be employed in the training process (Foshay & Tinkey, 2007). Designing and planning is done by the experts of the training. This maybe people who have vast knowledge about training in different organizations and have had relevant experience in the field. Developing and delivering of the training program is done either by the coaches or mentors who have relevant experience in the work and want to nurture the employee s into better performance. Given that only experts are involved the results from the training is often good.
The last stage is the outcome which mainly seeks to gather data after the training evaluation. The data may include the employees ability to use a new technology which he/she received training from, the level of organizations production as compared to production level before the training, the time management skills of employees after the training and so forth (Foshay & Tinkey, 2007). This model of training evaluation has been proven to have various advantages which include increased level of productivity hence improved profit, enhanced customer satisfaction and reduced rates of incidents and accidents. In the era of increased competition among rival companies these training evaluation model can enhance the competitiveness of an organization.
Evaluation of End User
The other training evaluation technique that is currently being used in many organizations is the evaluation of end user. This is a model that was proposed by Mahapatra and Lai in 2005. In forming their model Mahapatra and Lai built on the Kirkpatric’s model by incorporating technology in to their proposed evaluation program (Foshay & Tinkey, 2007). This is because they believed that the advancement of technology as is nowadays used by various organizations is relevant in evaluation of the effectiveness of training programs. In addition, their model also used the concept of transferring skills (the ability for people to apply the skills that they learn during work for better job performance). On his side, Topno (2012) asserts that this model is major essential because it helps in providing a distinction between the skills acquired and the skills transferred.
There are four main levels of training evaluation employed by people using the Mahapatra and Lai model. The first level is the evaluation of the reaction towards the training and the training program. Under this level things such as the perception of the trainees and the opinions that they had with regards to the training design, content, structure, course and presentation is assessed. If the opinions and the perceptions are positive it is likely that they will implement the things learnt during the training (Eseryel, 2002).
The second level is the evaluation of learning. Under this stage the assessment of the core competencies prior to the training is compared to the competencies after the training. It is expected that after the training program the employee would have added some competencies especially those addressed in the training program. Eservel (2002) gives an instance to illustrate on this by stating that if the training was based on ways of using social media to enhance marketing; it is expected that after the training the employees would be able to use social media platforms to start advertising and marketing the organization.
The third level of e valuation is the evaluation of behavior change during the practice and following the training. After training the behaviors such as the level of professionalism is expected to advance. The behavior changes can be measured even during the training. For example an improvement for an employee who is used to coming late for work can be evaluated by them starting to come early for the training (Foshay & Tinkey, 2007)..
Last but not least, there is the level of results and outcome evaluation. This level entails all the three method and should be observed from the organizational changes (Topno, 2012). This may be inform of increased employee productivity hence the profit made by an organization increasing. If after the training the overall organizations performance remain constant then there is a likelihood that the training program failed. Assessment can be done to determine the reasons for such failures so as to avoid them in future training.
Computerized Automation of Training Evaluation
According to Eseryel (2002), internal resource managers and personnel such as the trainers, training designers, and the chief personnel needs to be involved in training evaluation process so as to realize a pervasive and substantive training programs. This means that there is a need for such to change the mentality that training evaluation can only be done by experts outside the organization. With the current technological advancement computer automation can be applied in ensuring that relevant people within the organization have evaluate ongoing training. Foshay & Tinkey (2007) note that the evaluation process to be used must be standardized so as to gain much from the technology.
Computer automation in evaluating training programs has the potential to minimize biases among the internal evaluators. The two major factions that computer automation can perform with regards to training evaluation include; automation of the training planning through guidance by experts and automation of the process of data collection. In automation of planning from experts’ guidance a systematic or procedural technique can be used to help the internal evaluator to plan for effective evaluation (Foshay & Tinkey, 2007). The expert program comprehends relevant information from the evaluators and then provides recommendations pertaining to the possible strategies. The categories for input information for the system include the purpose of evaluation which can either be formative or summative; type of objectives for the evaluation which can be cognitive; behavioral, impact or affective; the evaluation level which can be learning, reaction, or organizational impact; the instructional objectives which can be procedural learning, declarative knowledge or attitudes and the type of group participant whether individual, whole group or a small group (Eseryel, 2002).
Based on such inputs the expert can be in a position to provide guidance on the evaluation designs that can be employed in data collection and analysis, the report format to be used and the dissemination strategies. The expert may show the internal evaluators how to form an automated system for data collection so as to increase the efficiency of the evaluation process. Tool such as the intelligence test can be effectively applied in such computerized evaluation programs. The computerized automation of training evaluation has the advantage of assisting in providing advice on revision of the training materials based on the feedback evaluation (Topno, 2012). Additionally, the data evaluation, individual performance, and revised items are tagged in the learning objectives for the training. An example of a computerized evaluation program that is currently being used include the ADAPT instructional designs.
Organizations spend significant amount of money in planning and implementing training programs. The training is usually intended to positively impact the organization through enhancing productivity and increasing competitiveness. However, often times training programs to do not result in any improvement implying loss of organizations time, money and their resources. Training evaluation though a complex process on its own can help an organization to evaluate the outcome of a training program. This paper has discussed some of the new techniques used by organizations to evaluate their training.