It takes a lot of hard work to put together a great eLearning course. It requires many people to put in a lot of time, and you need to invest numerous resources to design and develop a successful program. Nobody wants to spend all that time & energy without knowing if it even works.
Assessing the effectiveness of your online course is essential to understand what works what can be improved. Here are 5 ways to help you evaluate whether your training program is really effective.
1. Watch and Learn
The simplest way to see if your employees actually understand what they learned in training is by monitoring how they work. Observing how they apply what they’ve learned in their day-to-day tasks will give you a good idea of how well they’ve understood the training. Can they easily implement what they learned, or do they need help? Make a note of all the tasks where they need further assistance. Ask them what challenges they’re facing to move forward.
Be careful to identify if it is because your training lacks the information they’re looking for, or if it is because the information you provided is confusing or outdated. This will help you clearly identify areas of improvement as well as determine the next course of action.
2. Conduct assessment tests after training
Testing is still a widely used and quite effective way to find out if your employees understand the critical knowledge and skills to do their job well. For example, if many of your employees are unable to grasp a specific concept, it will be reflected in their assessment performance – they may fail or do poorly in that portion of your test. This will tell you that you need to rework your training material to help them understand those concepts.
Some Learning Management Systems (LMS) go a step further and offer more granular information about the effectiveness of your training. For example, instructors can see how their training is progressing and what results learners are obtaining. Many of them provide a question-level report that provide a detailed analytics for each question of their assessment tests. They can not only assess how well the learners did, but also analyze the assessment test itself.
For example, let’s say you create a quiz and give it to 50 people. In traditional reporting, you’ll be able to see high-level trends such as how many people passed and how many failed. However, with question-level reporting, you can see precisely how many people were able to correctly answer, say, question #5. Now, if majority of learners are getting this question wrong, then it’s very likely that something is wrong with the way the question has been framed, and you can try rewording it the next time. If it still doesn’t improve the performance, then determine if it is something that can be fixed with more training.
3. Get Social
Using social features is another great way to find out if your training is working. Humans are social, by nature, and like learning from one another. We also know that one of the best way to learn something is to actually teach it. So why not let your employees turn into instructors and see how effectively they’re able to transfer what they’ve learned to their fellow employees.
If your LMS doesn’t have explicit social features, you can leverage community sites to encourage discussions among learners. They provide a forum-like experience that motivate people to have discussions with a broad audience of people across your organization.
For example, anyone in your organization can ask a question to start a discussion or post a reply/comment that can be liked by others. The person who started the discussion can also mark the ‘best reply’ or make it a featured discussion. Trainers can analyze the discussion topics to understand which discussions bring out best answers quickly, which ones turn into endless debates, and which ones result in confusion. This will tell you which topics your learners have understood well and which ones need more training. In fact, trainers themselves can post questions to initiate a discussion and see how their learners respond.
Community sites also provide an element of gamification whereby people are given badges, points and titles, based on their performance. This only motivates learners to do better.
4. Use Performance Goals
Setting performance goals for your employees is a good way to measure how your training program works. However, to do this effectively, you need to compare the performance before and after training. To ensure that employees are always focused on performance goals throughout their training experience, it’s essential to link your training to performance expectations. Use assignments that simulate real-life scenarios and allow employees to put their skills into practice.
5. Ask your staff for inputs
Lastly, ask your employees what they think about your training program. Constructive criticism will allow you to quickly identify what’s working and what isn’t, so you can improve it. You can give them surveys that ask questions about their satisfaction with your training program, whether they would recommend it to others, what topics were most interesting.
It’s even more helpful if, at the end of your training, you ask learners to freely speak about your training program. Although you may find that people are initially hesitant to openly air their opinions, you’ll see that they slowly open up and collectively give you valuable feedback.
Evaluating the effectiveness of your online training is the key to improving workplace productivity. It will help you figure out whether your training is functional or not, which parts are most effective and which ones need to be improved. This will enable you to optimize your training program and help employees learn & apply the required skills to do their job well.