Designing an effective learning program for employees is a challenging task, similar to navigating a treacherous jungle for learning and development professionals. Crafting a top-notch learning program requires careful consideration of various factors, including clear learning objectives, unique learning styles and preferences, and the perfect content to bring it all together. However, once a comprehensive program is designed, it is essential to evaluate its effectiveness thoroughly to ensure it meets established objectives and provide opportunities to reinforce learning through a variety of tried-and-true methods.
Proper evaluation of a learning experience involves analyzing criteria to determine its success, according to an eLearning Industry article. There are different models for learning evaluations, including both micro-level (the learning experience itself) and macro-level (its impact on business and society) criteria. For example, Roger Kaufman, an evaluation and needs assessment expert, expanded Kirkpatrick's model to include an evaluation of the societal impact of learning experiences, known as Kaufman's Five Levels of Evaluation.
Donald Kirkpatrick's model, on the other hand, suggests that a learning experience should be evaluated across four levels: reaction, learning, behavior, and results. The reaction stage evaluates participants' response to training, followed by the learning stage, where organizations can see what trainees learned during the training program. Then, there's the behavior stage, designed to observe whether participants have been able to turn their knowledge into skills. The final stage is the results, when organizations must assess whether the training met stakeholders' expectations by calculating the return on expectations (ROE).
There are many assessment strategies for evaluating the success of a learning experience, and several of them are worth considering. One of them is pre- and post-learning assessments, which evaluate employees' knowledge and skills before and after a learning program, respectively. This step is often overlooked, but it is crucial in determining the most suitable learning program for employees based on their current level of knowledge rather than assumptions about their skills. This ensures that the learning program is tailored to the learners' needs and not a mismatch.
Another useful assessment strategy is real-world scenarios, which create an opportunity for organizations to assess whether employees can apply the gained knowledge in a secure environment that mimics the challenges they may encounter in their job. Observations can also be used to evaluate learners' behavior and performance in the workplace before and after the learning experience. Observations can be conducted by supervisors or peers and used to identify changes in learners' behavior and performance as a result of the learning experience.
Evaluation & eLearning
One of the key advantages of eLearning is the ability to keep track of learners' progress using various methods. Learning management systems (LMS) are commonly used to track learners' progress in eLearning. LMS can record learners' participation in the course, their completion status, and their assessment results. This information can be used to monitor learners' progress, identify areas where they may be struggling, and provide targeted feedback and support.
Moreover, gamification elements such as badges, points, and leaderboards can also be utilized as a form of evaluation to motivate learners and increase their engagement with the eLearning course. These elements create a sense of competition and achievement, encouraging learners to complete modules and perform well in assessments. By incorporating these methods of evaluation, trainers and instructors can provide a well-rounded assessment of learners' progress and create a more effective eLearning experience.
Some (final) thoughts
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