How To Get More Value From Your Training Investment


Published on

Training Departments face pressure to improve the ROI in training and providing an effective means of measuring training performance. This white paper explores how training can solve these challenges, adding greater value to the company.

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

How To Get More Value From Your Training Investment

  1. 1. White PaperHow To Get More Value FromYour Training InvestmentSaba Testing & Assessment It is always better to take action based on hard facts, and not on presumptions, predispositions or ambiguous feedback. Assessments enable this. They provide the means to gain valuable insights into proficiency and performance, identify areas of improvement and substantiate decisions on how best to drive personal and organizational effectiveness.
  2. 2. White Paper n How To Get More Value From Your Training InvestmentEach year organizations worldwide spend billions ontraining. But is the training effective? Have the learnersactually learned the right things to the desired degree? Canthey take their new knowledge and apply it successfully? “...Clearly, testing enhances long-term retention through some mechanism that isCan a return on investment be demonstrated? Can this both different from and more effective thanreturn be improved, and how?Only through measurement can an organization accurately restudy alone. ”answer these questions. To measure is to know.And to measure, one first has to be able to effectively Henry L. Roediger Professor of Psychology at Washingtontest and assess. University in St. LouisWhy Assessments MatterAssessments – whether in the form of tests, certification To Improve Learningexams, questionnaires, surveys, self- assessments, In the case of learning, this information is usually retrieved180/360-degree appraisals, observations, interviews, or through tests as they provide a record of ability and anyreviews – are extremely versatile and powerful business progress They are particularly valuable, and most frequently According to Washington University Professor Henry L.used to measure learning and to drive improvement. This is Roediger III, Ph.D., “Incorporating more frequent testing intobecause assessments provide a reliable and programmatic a course may improve learning and promote retention ofway to (1) gain an accurate picture of proficiency and material long after a course has ended.”performance at any point in time, and (2) identify and directdevelopment. Professor Roediger’s revelation comes from his study “Test- Enhanced Learning. Taking Memory Tests Improves Long-Essentially, assessments: Term Retention” (Henry L. Roediger, III, Jeffrey D. Karpickeƒƒ Allow the establishment of baseline levels of proficiency Psychological Science, 2006, Volume 17, Issue 3: 249-255) and performance so that progress can be measured in which one group of students focused purely on the study over time. material and a second group was repeatedly administeredƒƒ Assure that learning and performance goals are accurate quizzes. Not only did the “quizzed” group do better on a and attainable. delayed test of knowledge, but the study found that theƒƒ Diagnose individual and corporate knowledge and “study only” group actually had a false sense of confidence effectiveness to identify gaps. in their mastery of the material.ƒƒ Identify advancement objectives and priorities that Professor Roediger is not alone in his conclusion. The represent the highest value opportunities. importance of testing as part of learning has been provenƒƒ Determine whether value is being realized. time and time again, convincing many that testing/Simply said, assessments are the key to possessing reliable assessing must be an integral part of any learning initiativeinformation on: what is, what to build on, and on how to as it can:best bring this about. ƒƒ Ensure competence—test against learning objectives to ensure that all competencies have been mastered. ƒƒ Help learners learn—automatically create study plans to help learners focus on areas of weakness. ƒƒ Show learning progress—administer base-line tests before and post-tests after training to demonstrate knowledge gained. ƒƒ Improve training programs—determine overall shortcomings to help pinpoint where training programs can be improved. ƒƒ Justify training budgets—evaluate the effectiveness of given training on the workplace and bottom line metrics.
  3. 3. To Successfully Meet Business Objectives ƒƒ Market Research—to investigate and gauge theLearning is, however, not the only arena where effectiveness of existing business practices comparedassessments can play a major and even game-changing to others in the marketplace to be better prepared for the future.part in driving improvement and in turn performance. Dueto their many different forms they can be of value in fulfilling ƒƒ Return on Investment—to evaluate the effectiveness ofa number of business objectives. These include: training on the workplace to provide evidence on return on investment.ƒƒ Assessment and Certification—to document expertise and recognize professional development beyond formal To Optimize Training academic education. A further application area, where assessments play a pivotƒƒ Compliance—to embed and demonstrate an role, is in the development and delivery of training. understanding of company and government policies Then, for any training to be truly effective it must be and regulations, as well as provide tamper-free auditable routinely evaluated. What is needed? Is it worthwhile? documentation. Does it produce the desired outcome? Where canƒƒ Sales Force Readiness—to lay the foundation for sales improvements be made? growth by reinforcing and enhancing the abilities of customer-facing personnel.ƒƒ Appraisals—to gain a more holistic picture of competency Saba Testing Assessment Suite in Action and performance through feedback from different sources – self, supervisors, peers, customers, etc. A 110,000 employee division of a global life sciences company was able to rapidly deploy sales training, compliance, and certification assessments Saba Testing Assessment Suite in Action and ensure regulatory 21 CFR part 11 compliance A global transportation company was able, with with the Saba Testing Assessment Suite. the Saba Testing Assessment Suite, to certify that its 6,000 employees complied with Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and European Safety One of the most widely adopted training evaluation Agency (EASA) regulations. methodology is that of Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick. Applied to training it can promote learning and performance through the continuous improvement of training programs and processes. Critically, the requirement for assessmentƒƒ Recruitment—to obtain measureable comparisons permeates all phases of the model: Reaction, Learning, between individuals and against job profiles to expedite, Behavior, Results. improve and substantiate hiring decisions as well as to reduce employee turnover by selecting the right candidate As the word implies, the Reaction stage addresses the from the start. personal reactions of trainees towards a learning experience.ƒƒ On-boarding—to cement the transfer of initial work- Keenly aware of what they require to accomplish a task, they related information in order speed up job readiness and can provide valuable feedback on whether a training productivity as well as improve employee retention. program has satisfy their needs or not, as well as suggestƒƒ Succession Planning—to identify and develop high- areas of improvement in its design or delivery. This performers, who can step into critical positions. information is usually obtained through happy sheets,ƒƒ Change Management—to secure the smooth adoption surveys or questionnaires, which are immediately distributed of business changes (products, services, processes, etc.) after training has occurred. with little to no interruption to daily business. The second phase, Learning, involves measuring theƒƒ Customer and Partner Training—to reinforce the increase in knowledge or ability of trainees from before to knowledge base of those beyond the corporate firewall to maximize customer satisfaction, ensure partner readiness, after a learning experience. What was acquired, developed enhance loyalty and induce positive word-of-mouth. or enhanced? What attitudes were changed? This evaluation normally requires some type of pre- and post-ƒƒ Corporate University—to better align internal training programs to a business’s overall strategy and objectives. testing to take place. The results of which can also be used to validate the learning objectives of the training.ƒƒ Product and Market Testing—to capture valuable feedback on the viability of ideas so as to recognize those with the highest sales performance potential.
  4. 4. White Paper n How To Get More Value From Your Training InvestmentThe third phase, Behavior, assesses to what extent trainees Obtaining Meaningful andhave applied what they have learnt to their daily work. Thisfrom not only a behavioral aspect but also in regards to the Reliable Dataconsequence of the behavior–the resulting performance. Key Assessment PrinciplesCan the learner now perform and produce the needed Irrespective of the intended use, best practice has shownresults in the working environment? Observations made that it is essential that certain principles be applied to anyand interviews performed over time from those closely assessment in order for it to deliver meaningful data.involved with the learner, such as a supervisor, can help Assessment results should not be an accumulation of trivia.assess and confirm the sustainability of any change.Ongoing testing can also be beneficial. To have meaning, an assessment must: ƒƒ Have a clearly defined goal. This goal must be measurable. Only when the results of the assessment can be interpreted against this goal, is it possible to assign meaning to them. ƒƒ Be designed to be fair, valid and reliable. If not, its results cannot be defended. ƒƒ Be targeted at the right audience and its purpose clearly communicated. The former aligns the assessment’s focus to the set objective, while the latter sets the foundation for open communication. ƒƒ Be delivered in a format consistent with its measurement goal. In sum, assessment is a science, and any givenIn the final phase, Results, the focus is on the effect training assessment must be conducted properly – from authoringhas had on a business or environment resulting from the and administering to analysis and reporting – for it toimproved effectiveness of the trainee. Measures will produce sound conclusive results. Halfway measures andtypically be performance indicators such as efficiency, ad hoc assessments, on the other hand, can lead anmoral, teamwork, sales growth, number of complaints, staff organization down a perilous path where decisions areturnover, achievement of compliance and so on. Annual made on unanchored and even irrelevant information.appraisals and ongoing accomplishment of key business An assessment system, like the Saba Testing objectives, the usual means to measure these. So whereas Assessment Suite, delivers the tools that enable a scientificthe first three phases of the model provide information for and programmatic approach to assessment. Its extensiveimproving a learning package, the fourth pinpoints the management, analysis and reporting capabilities,returns for investing in the training process. providing data-rich measurements on any objective it isAs training is an ongoing process so too must its used to address.evaluation. The leveraging of assessments throughout itsevaluation validates their significance as engines for Summarycontinuous improvement. Then, they not only help those Assessments come in many forms and can be used for a widedelivering training to improve their services, but also ensure variety of applications. Their primary purpose is to secure thethat the training is in fact delivering the right services. retrieval of reliable and meaningful information on proficiency and performance. This information can then be used to identify areas of improvement and substantiate decisions on how best to drive personal and organizational effectiveness. For this to be possible, an assessment must have a clear measurable goal. It must be designed to be fair, valid and reliable. And it has to be carried out properly and interpreted consistently. An intuitive system that offers capabilities in the centralized development, administration, processing and reporting of tests and assessments, like Saba’s Testing Assessment Suite, can easily fulfill these requirements and bring out the true value of assessments – their ability to drive performance. Saba enables organizations to build a transformative workplace where they can leverage their people networks to become more competitive through innovation, speed, agility, and trust. © 2012 Saba Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Saba, the Saba logo, Saba Centra, and the marks relating to Saba products and services referenced herein are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Saba Software, Inc. or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.Saba Software (UK) Ltd | Circa, The Ring | Bracknell | Berkshire | RG12 1AA UK | (+44) (0)1344 382950 | wp_testing_and_assessments_uk 04/12