This is the title of a post in the Social Learning blog that discusses how to apply Donald Kirkpatrick's learning evaluation model to the expectations of your firms and lawyers. If you're not familiar with it, here's Kirkpatrick's four-level model.
- Reaction: To what degree did the learners react favorably to the training experience? This is no longer just evaluating whether you like the course. It still measures course, content, instructor, and relevancy to the job. But it should also communicate a link between quality, process improvement, and action. Ask trainees for suggestions on how to improve the course, then devise an action plan to address expressed weaknesses.
- Learning: To what degree did the learners acquire the intended knowledge, skills, and attitudes as a result of the training? This is not just testing the content. Kirkpatrick says participants need to achieve certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes to get to the desired behavior and results. He says unless one or more of the learning objectives (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) have been accomplished, there can be no change in behavior.
- Behavior: To what degree did the learners apply what they learned back on the job? This is really about follow-up and reinforcement. Kirkpatrick says new knowledge and skills don’t translate to actual business value unless they're transferred to new on-the-job behavior. He believes lack of success results more often from insufficient follow-up than from poor training programs or training delivery. He also thinks the evaluation process itself reinforces new behaviors because it encourages support and follow-up by supervisors and managers.
- Results: To what degree did the targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training experience and follow-up reinforcement? This is ROE (Return on Expectations), not ROI. And here we are full circle back to the stakeholders’ expectations. What kind of evidence is most compelling for management? In what form do they want it?
To date, what's been your experience with evaluating your training investments?
- Do you measure at all?
- What do you measure?
- What criteria do you apply?
- How do you compare investment vs. result?
Please contribute via the Comments section below.
There's a way to extend your firm's finite training budget meaningfully: Don't waste it on a program that requires the lawyers to commit to the huge time commitment and gratification-deferral for the equivalent of a BD degree. Instead, give them only the training they need to succeed at the business development activity they're going to undertake imminently. (As a friend put it, "I don't want to become fluent in French; I just want to impress my date Friday night by ordering smoothly from the menu at the French restaurant.”)
RainmakerVT's just-in-time training eliminates waste and risk, and reduces unit cost. Here are some examples:
A few lawyers are going to a networking event next week? Give them the networking event simulation that teaches them how to go from the doorway to a qualified sales opportunity--comfortably.
One of your lawyers is speaking at an industry conference next Spring? Help her get the most out of that presentation, and in the months beforehand use that “thought leadership” platform as a way to manufacture a network of contacts of exactly the type she wants--without leaving her desk.
Take a look at the RainmakerVT course list. You'll recognize how you can give lawyers what they really want: help with what they're about to do instead of abstract training that they can't see any concrete application for right now.
Only what you need; only when you need it.