Determining Training ROI: Isolating the Effects of Your Training Program

Isolating the Effects of Training Programs on Business Goals ImageIn some recent articles, we’ve been looking at issues related to determining if your training program is having a desired positive effect, determining how big of a positive effect it’s having, and communicating that information internally within the training department but also externally with others in your workplace.

For example, we discussed the importance of aligning training with business goals, gave an overview of the commonly used Kirkpatrick evaluation model, and in our last article that touched on these issues, we looked at a way to evaluate the movement of a key performance indicator (KPI) after a training program was held.

In that same article, we also noted that although it’s great if you initiate a training program and see a KPI (or several KPIs) that the program is intended to effect respond in a positive manner, that’s not the whole story. Because there are other factors that may have influenced that KPI at the same time. And if that’s the case, who’s to say that the newly implemented training program truly deserves all the credit? Or how much of the credit it does deserve? Or even if it deserves any credit for the improved KPI?

And that introduction leads us straight to the point of this article. Today, we’re going to explain a few methods of “isolating the effects of your training program.” What this means is determining how much of that desired increase in the KPI your training program was responsible for–if any.

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Big Data and Big Learning Data

big data and big learning data imageIf you live in today’s world, read the papers, listen to the radio, or (more to the point) get on the Internet, you’ve heard the phrase: BIG DATA. And maybe you’ve heard of BIG LEARNING DATA too.

We know big data is about data, and we know if we consult our friends at Merriam-Webster, they’ll tell us that in general terms, data is “facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something,” and in terms that are more specifically relevant to this article, data is “information that is produced or stored by a computer” (bonus points if you happened to know that “data” is the plural version of “datum,” grammar junkie).

And of course, we know that the word “big” placed before “data” means there’s a LOT of data. It doesn’t really matter exactly how much data you’re talking about. It’s enough data that it’s hard to manage, analyze, and make sense of with common software applications (read: Excel spreadsheets).

But how much do you know about big data? And in particular, how much do you know about how it’s being used and will be used at your workplace, and how it will be used in your training programs and your learning & development programs?

If you’re a little fuzzy on all of this yourself, take a few minutes to read this article. It may provide a few “a-ha” moments, give you an insight or two, and help you better prepare for the big data revolution we’re told is coming soon.

We’d also very much value your own insights, thoughts, predictions, opinions, and comments in the comments field at the end of this article.

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How to Measure the Impact of Training on Business Goals and KPIs

Measure Impact of Training on Business KPI Image

You can train people all you want, but it’s nice to know if the training is working. More specifically, is it helping your company reach a business goal?

Actually, that’s not just nice. It’s something that’s very important to know. Otherwise, you may be just wasting time and money. And you may even be without a job soon if you can’t prove this.

Luckily, you can use training data from your learning management system (LMS), along with other KPI data (for example, KPIs about operations or safety), to create a compelling visual display of the positive effects of your training program. And as you know, a picture is worth a thousand words.

We’re going to give you a couple of quick examples of how to do just that in the post below.

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The Training Within Industry (TWI) Job Instruction Program (JI)

In a recent article, we provided an overview of Training Within Industry (TWI).

TWI is a training program that was created by the U.S. government during World War II. In the long-term analysis, however, TWI was more influential overseas than it was in the U.S. In particular, it really caught on in Japan, and it could be said that TWI was one of the things at the roots of the Japanese lean manufacturing revolution.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the Job Instruction (JI) program.

Before you get started on TWI and JI, feel free to check out the sample video of some highlights from our online workforce training courses for manufacturers and our online lean manufacturing training courses, plus check our our learning management system for managing and administering all your job training programs.

If you’re interested in Training Within Industry (TWI), you might also find these posts about TWI interesting:

And for more on Lean Manufacturing, try these:

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Level 4 Training Evaluations (Mind Those Business Goals)

level 4 training evaluation imageKnowing if your training program is having a positive effect on relevant KPIs, and is helping move your company toward its business goals, is a good thing.

Trainers do this by performing what’s known as a level 4 evaluation (in the traditional four-level Kirkpatrick training evaluation model). There are other training evaluation models as well, and it’s worth exploring them too, but we’ll stick to Kirkpatrick and level 4 in this article.

By focusing on level 4, we’ll be paying attention to the real reason you’re creating training in the first place: to create desired behaviors, to improve performance, and ultimately to contribute to progress toward business goals like higher profits, lower costs, fewer accidents, etc.

Here we go. 

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9 Times When eLearning Is Better Than Instructor-Led for Safety Training

When Online Training Is Better Than Instructor-Led Training Image

A lot of people think that instructor-led training is ALWAYS better than e-learning, also known as online training.

And, based on our experience, it seems that this opinion is held especially strongly among safety professionals.

But, the truth is, there are often scenarios where elearning is as effective (and at times possibly more so) than instructor-led training. In this post we’re gonna take this topic head on, and give some examples when elearning is the most appropriate training method to use.

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Training and Balanced Performance Measurement Frameworks: What They Are And How They Work

Performance Measurement Frameworks Image

Job trainers have a lot of things to check off their to-do list.

One is to evaluate the learning of employees who have completed training. This means things like assessments and tests, seeing if people can pass tests, have necessary knowledge, and (most importantly) have acquired necessarily skills/can perform necessary tasks.

The second is to determine if the training is having a positive effect on the relevant performance metrics for the company and, if possible, to determine an ROI for the training (this is how you’re going to really prove your worth and really prove your training is effective). In terms of Kirkpatrick’s training evaluations, we’re talking about the elusive but equally important Level 4 here.

But a lot of trainers go to school and learn a lot about instructional design theory while learning next to nothing about performance metrics (this includes me-guilty). As a result, it’s not always clear how to start showing if training has had a positive effect on those performance metrics.

To help solve this problem, we thought we’d give you an introduction to some of the theory behind the development of meaningful workplace performance metrics, and in particular to what are known as “balanced performance metrics.”

This will be one of a series of articles we’ll write on how training is related to performance metrics and KPIs not just for the training department but for the company as a whole, so keep your eyes on future articles for more on this topic.

What you’ll learn here is based off a handy little guide called Designing Metrics: Crafting Balanced Measures for Managing Performance by Dr. Bob Frost. We found this book to be really helpful, pleasantly brief, and to-the-point. We recommend you buy a copy if this article sparks your interest, and we note that Dr. Frost has written a few other books that look interesting as well. In particular, Measuring Performance: Using the New Metrics to Deploy Strategy and Improve Performance looks like it might be good and a logical next step to this book.

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12 Ways to Administer Instructor-Led Training with an LMS

Administering Instructor-Led Training with an LMS

When many people think of learning management systems (LMSs), they think of “online training” or eLearning courses.

On the flip-side, what many people don’t think about is instructor-led training, classroom-style training, face-to-face training, field-based training, OJT, weekly safety meetings, and similar things that happen when people are working together to learn.

But you CAN use an LMS to administer instructor-led training and similar face-to-face training in different working environments, and doing so makes life easier for training administrators and for employees as well.

In this article, we’ll look at some examples of how you can  use an LMS to administer instructor-led training at your workplace and show how doing so makes work easier and more efficient and also makes your blended learning training solution more effective.

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Online Training Basics: Learning Management Systems, Authoring Tools, and SCORM

Online Training Basics Image

New to eLearning? If so, there are some things it helps to learn sooner instead of later.

But don’t worry, they’re not hard to pick up.

So let us get you up to speed on a few 100-level, eLearning basics in this article:

  • Learning management systems (LMSs)
  • Authoring tools
  • SCORM

Get a handle on these three and you’ve pushed yourself ahead from complete novice/deer in the headlights to someone who’s not lost in conversations with eLearning developers, trainers, and instructional designers, and other folks who talk about online training. Nice!

Once you’ve got these three basic terms down, feel free to move on to our Online Safety Training Glossary to learn even more (most of the terms apply to all online training, not just safety training).

PLUS, you can read (or watch a recorded webinar) to learn how to use an authoring tool to create an eLearning course in SCORM format and then import it into a learning management system (LMS)!

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What is Online Health and Safety Training, Really, and What Can it Do?

What Is Online Safety Training ImageAre you thinking about getting your health and safety training program online but maybe you’re not entirely sure what exactly online safety training includes?

If so, you’ve come to the right place, because in this article, we’re going to explain what an online health and safety training program is and what it can do.

You may find it’s bigger than you’re thinking right now. So with those beginnings, let’s get on topic, huh?

But before we get going, please know we’ve got a free recorded on-demand webinar called Evaluating Online Safety Training Solutions that you may be interested in, too.

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What Is an eLearning Authoring Tool?

eLearning authoring tool image

Some people in learning and development are old hands with eLearning authoring tools (also just called authoring tools). In some cases, perhaps, to the point that the authoring tool becomes a bit old hat.

No, I doubt that. I just wanted to make an old hand/old hat joke.

Because what eLearning authoring tools let you do is pretty amazing, pretty powerful, and pretty darned fun.

On the other hand, though, almost every week I meet people in training almost who don’t use eLearning authoring tools and don’t even know what they are. Sure, once you explain what an eLearning authoring tool is, they can tell you that they figured there must be some software application that did something like that. But they’re always pretty interested to know more, too.

So, especially for those who are new to eLearning authoring tools, we’ve put together this quick explanation. If we only whet your appetite and leave you with more questions, please use the comments section below.

On the other hand, if you’re a authoring tool power user, we invite you to add your insights down below too. Let us know what your favorite ones are, and why, in particular.

We’ll follow up this blog post by taking more “deep dive” views at various eLearning authoring tools and by creating an eLearning authoring tool comparison article at some point in the (hopefully near-term) future.

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8 Important Training KPIs You Should be Tracking

KPI-top-graphicKPI stands for key performance indicator(s). KPIs are numerical ways to track the progress of a business as it strives to reach different business goals. KPIs have to be something you can count and measure objectively so that you can track progress.

A business as a whole may have its own set of KPIs. In addition, each site or department may also have its own KPIs. And so it stands to reason that the training department might/could/should have its own KPIs too. We’re going to look at a few of those in this article.

There are many different kinds of KPIs to track for a training program. Some focus on things that are directly related to training–like how many workers are complete or how many are overdue. Others focus on how the training program is affecting business results–like a comparison of profits or production or quality before and after a training program began.

In this article, we’re going to focus on those KPIs that are directly related to your training program, and in particular KPIs you can track using a learning management system (LMS). In future articles, we’ll look at some of those KPIs related to business results. If you’re not familiar with what an LMS is, the short video below will make it more obvious.

Having a learning management system (LMS) can make it very easy to track these training KPIs because they automatically capture training data and make it easy to generate reports. The same KPIs might be very hard to track accurately if you have training records in multiple spreadsheets, paper-based documents, and/or various computer systems.

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