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Training Evaluation Tool Kit

February 3, 2009

To date, most of the content in this blog is based on my experience. Occasionally I come across other resources, some of which may prove useful to other trainers and training managers. My specific focus is on what I refer to as ‘front line’ training and targets small to medium training teams or organisations. Typically, your larger organisations cater for regular training programs and can afford the cost of developing or hiring training experts. Additionally, the consistent training means that their trainers get to ply their trade regularly enough to work on their own development.

Last week I was given the opportunity to review Leslie Allan’s Training Evaluation Toolkit; described as a practical guide for performing an evaluation of organisational training.

First Impressions

On opening, I was surprised at the extent of the content, in particular the range of templates that are included in the package (16 in total). A quick read of the introduction described the evaluation model that this tool kit is built around; the very well known and extensively used Donald Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation model.

On further review

I like this model for evaluating training programs as it sits well with OJT training and classroom delivery alike. Leslie explains each of the four levels in great detail, living up to his promise of delivering a ‘practical guide’ to training evaluation. He spends a chapter on each level, detailing the process of assessing training with a significant amount of background detail and considerations for the evaluator. It is an outstanding explanation of Kirkpatrick’s model. The chapter on measuring results is particularly noteworthy, explaining how results are often difficult to isolate and can be affected by non-training matters.

I did find the second last chapter, measuring the ROI on training, to be what I would consider as ‘theory heavy’, most probably because it falls outside the scope of my particular niche. Although it is still approached from a practical angle, the depth is too extensive for the front line trainer, low level training manager and possibly even the small business owner. Don’t get me wrong, I do see the need to ensure that the reward for you efforts is worth the resources committed, but if it is too complex, the options are to outsource or overlook.

This is bought quickly back into focus with the last chapter titled “Program Evaluation and Reporting”. Although short, it is an invaluable inclusion that clearly outlines the importance of reporting on your training activities.

The templates are excellent. Included in the package are blue prints for training data collection and presentation, participant evaluation and feedback, a certificate of completion and training report. If this is first time evaluating training, then this book will give you the building blocks that you need to gather feed back, complete the assessment, analyse the results and record your findings.

Conclusion

The Training Evaluation Tool Kit is a one-stop tool box for evaluating your training programs, regardless of the size of your organisation. It feels more suited to a medium to large organisation with a regular training schedule, but that’s not to say that any benefit would be lost to the small business owner or sole trainer. At a cost of $50 USD, it is priced very reasonably with comparable products (and even some less comparable in quality).

Would I buy it? Yes, for the templates and the explanation of Kirkpatrick’s model alone.

For your own review, you can also download a sample from Leslie Allan’s Business Performance website, as well as find an extensive range of other products and resources.

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