How will you know that time and resources invested in training staff, elders, small group leaders, pastors or church planters is effective?
First, it’s easy to assume that because you offered training, everyone who attended 1) benefited from the training experience, and 2) is now actually trained and capable. This is not always true and certainly not automatic. The reality that you have likely attended training sessions that were not at all valuable is proof of this. Don’t assume that someone who attended a training event is actually trained and is now capable. Take time to evaluate the specific results of the training.
Second, just because participants enjoyed the training experience doesn’t mean that training took place. Providing interactive training experiences doesn’t automatically guarantee that training took place. Hearing from participants that they liked the training event, or even that they would recommend the training to others, doesn’t demonstrate that anyone is now trained and capable.
Third, feedback regarding the trainer’s knowledge of the content and delivery style doesn’t assess the actual results of the training. Is it important to evaluate both the training delivery process and the trainer’s competence? Yes. Will that help you evaluate the return on investment? Not necessarily.
Fourth, descriptions of actions plans and key learnings or insights doesn’t measure the true impact of the training received. Soliciting this type of feedback following a training event is a step in the right direction. However, this information is most helpful to the participant who is identifying what they have learned and what they intend to do. Yet evaluating in this way does not indicate whether or not someone is actually capable of executing their intended action plan.
How Will You Measure the Success of a Training Event?
Here are some potentially helpful categories for evaluating training effectiveness…
[Consider a rating scale of 1 to 5]
Relevance: I believe this training is relevant to my job.
Value: I believe this training is value-added in terms of time and funds invested.
Effectiveness: I rate this training as effective in preparing me to take appropriate action.
Importance: I believe this training was important for my success at the present time.
Confidence: I am confident that I can do what I’ve been trained to do.
Plans: I have a plan of action that I intend to accomplish.
Transferability: I am eager and prepared to pass on what I’ve learned to others.
Practicality: I know what I need to do next to move forward.
Based on the outcomes that you expect from a training event, develop statements like those above which will provide you appropriate feedback.
In addition to a rating [1 to 5] for each category, you may also consider asking for an explanation: why or why not. This will provide specific insight into the rating given.
Stop assuming that attending a training event for 1-5 days means that someone is now capable as a result of the training.
Instead, evaluate the training event based on specific outcomes.
Then, follow-up with participants to ensure real life application in a current context. (more on this tomorrow)
Measure the effectiveness of a training event based on specific measurable outcomes.