Evaluating your online training program

John Sherman

Do you know how effective your online training program is?

We’re always told about how important it is to provide employees with ongoing training. Sure, consistent and effective training is absolutely vital to teach your employees new skills, stay informed about new policies and improve their confidence.

But, there’s no point in having an online training program if it’s not actually teaching your staff anything of value. A lot of businesses focus on getting some form of online training up and running and they think the job is done, but this isn’t the case.

The truth is that this is only the beginning. You can’t achieve the results you are looking for without evaluating the program you’ve created. After all, how do you know if your program is really worth the time or effort if you don’t check?

Of course, there’s lots of elements you want to incorporate into your employee training program. It’s got to be educational, yet easy to understand so everyone can build their knowledge and skills, whether this is on how to manage their time better or learning about the newest regulations in their industry.

So, just like you examine and evaluate how well your systems and processing are working in your business, you’ve got to do the same with your employee training program on a regular basis. This will make sure your employees are learning and growing with your company.

You can find out what content is working well and what employees are responding to, as well as understand what areas are in need of improvement.

Yet, to be able to evaluate your training program, you’ve got to know how to do properly. Perhaps this is the reason why a lot of companies aren’t examining their training – they simply don’t know how to do it effectively.

Well, don’t worry – you’re in the right place to learn! We’ve set out some questions and strategies to follow that will make good evaluation easy, yet informative and reliable. So, let’s get started!

Before We Begin

Before you start your evaluation, it’s important to keep in mind what you’re aiming to achieve and your end goal. Keep this in the forefront of your mind moving forward.

Then, you’ve got to figure out what you’re wanting to measure and evaluate, whether that’s employee response to a single e-learning course or an entire online training program for new staff members.

Ask yourself these three questions before you begin:

  • Who needs this information?

Always think about what your evaluation should achieve and what purpose it’s going to serve for you. So, in most cases, it’s going to be the team in charge of employee training that will benefit from the findings or a design team.

  • What do you want to find out?

Saying you want to find out about the effectiveness of training is a little vague. You’ve got to break it down and think about what’s the whole evaluation about.

For example, do you want to learn about employee satisfaction, if the training is good for teaching new policies or if the content is suitable for all learning types? There’s likely to be a few goals in mind, so rank them in order of importance.

  • How are you going to find the answers?

Of course, you need to know how you’re going to collect your data and the answers to your questions. So, think about how you’re going to collate them. This can be through observations and grades from online courses, interviews with employees and even questionnaires.

Quantitative or Qualitative Evaluations

There’s two ways you can carry out your evaluations and this is through quantitative research or qualitative research. So, let’s have a look at these types of evaluations in order to choose the best one for your online training program.

Quantitative research lets you take larger samples and normally concentrates on making conclusions by numbers and analyzing them. In this way, you can use questionnaires and collect the answers to come to your conclusions.

In addition, you can look at the outcome of your training program and try to find out whether it’s directly related to this content, or from other influencing factors, such as poor team work or ineffective support. This can be done by creating a control group and comparing them to another team.

Qualitative research allows you to achieve a more in-depth analysis but will take longer to conduct. This evaluation will focus on what’s happened and why through case studies. There’s often concentration on what individual employees say and their opinions.

This human element of qualitative research means that employees can have a direct say on their online training program and ways it can be improved. Often you can make conclusions with this method that you weren’t expecting to achieve.

There’s no right or wrong way to evaluate your online training program. The most important thing is that you actually do the evaluation. Most of the time, a thorough evaluation will involve using elements of quantitative and qualitative research together.

So, once you have carried out your evaluation on your online training program, you can analyze the results. With your findings, you can make sure that your online training program is up-to-date and succeeds in teaching new skills and keeping employees satisfied.

It’s never too late to start evaluating your online training program. In fact, now you know how to do it, now is the best time to start!

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