The benefits of online training have been well established. And yet, not every organization achieves these benefits. In fact, as cited by the Harvard Business Review, a recent study found training and development to be among the daily areas employees are least satisfied with.

Simply offering this type of learning environment is not enough. It is vital to ensure that online training actually accomplishes its goals in educating and benefiting your teams.

Consider these 3 ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your online training.

1) Gather Online Training Feedback

Make sure that, as your teams go through the training modules, you get their initial feedback on content as well as the areas that could be improved to help them with their performance.

Ask your learners exactly how the courses are working, through these three mechanisms:

  1. Surveys: Allows you to get snapshot answers and general quantitative ratings.
  2. Focus groups: Both in person and online focus groups help you get in-depth answers and insight into greater themes of what works and what does not.
  3. Interviews: Interviews provide the deepest and most comprehensive way to get qualitative information on your training and its effectiveness.

Each of these options bring awareness to a different dimension of your training. Do not just rely on one of these methods. Instead, use a combination of all three to make sure that you get both the information to see obvious improvements and in-depth suggestions for more effective options in the future.

In addition to giving you the insights mentioned above, gathering feedback makes your teams feel that their opinions matter. Training and learning will become more collaborative because it is shaped by each of your employees.

2) Assess Your eLearning Results

At its core, evaluating your training effectiveness is about tracking if employees learn new skills, increase productivity, and grow professionally. This is a complex goal that is best attacked by breaking it down into components.

Those components are your key performance indicators, or KPIs. One commonly used framework is the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model, which breaks down the success of any type of training into four levels:

  1. Reaction: Based on whether your participants find the training useful, engaging, and relevant.
  2. Learning:The degree to which your employees get the skills and knowledge intended from the training.
  3. Behavior: How participants translate the training to the actual work to be done.
  4. Results: Measuring the degree to which the training influences performance of the employee and the organization.

Ideally, KPIs are oriented against these four levels but are more specific to your organization. They should be measurable, and within a specific time horizon, making it easy to assess the outcomes of the training.

Defining your KPIs is only the first step in assessment. Once identified, a 3-step process tends to be most beneficial in making sure your participants learn what they need to.

  1. Pre-Training Evaluation: Test your participants’ knowledge before the course rolls out. A simple survey, for instance, can help you uncover the strengths and weaknesses in the knowledge base of your learners, which helps you initially build more effective content.
  2. During-Training Evaluation: By measuring how learners engage with the content, you can identify any participation issues and where engagement tends to drop off or pick up.
  3. Post-Training Evaluation: Create a post-training survey that directly compares to your pre-training evaluation. By examining these results, you will have answers to the following questions: Have participants increased their knowledge? Have their strengths and weaknesses changed? How do they plan to implement that knowledge in their daily work life?

Each of these steps should be built directly around your KPIs. That way, you have a specific picture about the effectiveness and success of your training, enabling you to make the necessary adjustments as needed.

3) Leverage Social Media Metrics

We currently live in a social media-rich environment, so why shouldn’t we use social media to aid corporate training? Training modules integrated with social components tend to outperform their counterparts, and the same medium can also be effective in evaluating your training effectiveness.

Social Media

Social media already tends to be an integration within the learning management system. Here, you can set up online discussions or social media groups to engage users. You can also get feedback on various modules or overall learning objectives in an informal, casual manner. The insights you gain here can be significantly different from the more formal surveys or focus groups, which is why it is so important to include when evaluating your training’s effectiveness.

Webinars

Closely related are webinars, which often feature live Q&A sessions at the end which allow for similar information gathering opportunities. If your modules already include these webinars, it’s easy to formalize a couple questions related to the training and its objectives in order to get audience responses. As with social media groups, the more informal and spontaneous setting can lead to insights that tend to be evasive in more formal channels.

Casual as it may be, a plan still needs to be in place. It’s important to know what to look for (KPIs once again come in handy here), and what information your participants are willing to give you. By using the above evaluations with intention, you can dig deeper into what works, what doesn’t, and where your training efforts can improve.
It’s no simple feat. Building an online training program that accomplishes all of its business goal is a complex task, and continuous evaluation has to be a core part of that effort. But of course, difficult does not mean impossible.

How to Evaluate Your Online Training for Greater Long-Term Success

It’s no simple feat. Building an online training program that accomplishes all of its business goal is a complex task, and continuous evaluation has to be a core part of that effort. But of course, difficult does not mean impossible.

If you know how to reach your participants, what KPIs to focus on, and how to integrate social media, you can build an evaluation mechanism that continually analyses training effectiveness and achieves long-term organizational success.

About Knowledge Anywhere

Knowledge Anywhere is an elearning company focused on providing flexible, modern learning and development solutions that enable organizations to harness the power of an engaged, knowledgeable workforce.

Our Learning Management System, Virtual Reality Training, and Course Development services, combined with our experience and customer support enables our users to create a learning and development program that boosts sales and drives company growth.

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