To Assess or not to assess

To assess or not to assess…that is the question

Posted in Blog on 7 July 2015

Historically, organizations have

relied heavily on scores to substantiate learning. Are scores really the best indicator for assessing learning outcomes…especially for adult learners? Quizzes, tests, exams…oh my! It’s like a song from a very famous


What exactly do we mean when we say ‘assess’? Educators and trainers have been conditioned to the think that ‘scores’ somehow equate to learning. As educators, how do we shift this paradigm?

Some believe that viagra efectos if we can ‘assign a score’ that it means someone ‘did’ something. But you

circle right back around to the same question…just because someone answers a quiz,

does it really mean they learned?

Answering a quiz

question shows they were productive during that moment in time, but it doesn’t really relate to the learning value.

The conclusion has been, if learners pass cialis diabete effets secondaires a test, they have therefore learned. Rather we should be asking, how has the learning changed or contributed to personal and/or professional changes for the learner. Trainers, Supervisors, and Educators all want to know…how do I know if the courses or training made a difference? CEOs want to know the ROI and we ALL want to know if the content or training added value for the learner.

Analyzing training effectiveness

Efficacy cannot be measured simply by an assessment or completion of some portion of content. Efficacy and learning must be demonstrated by the learner. Does the learner do things differently after the

training took place? Do they apply what they learned in their professional or personal context? Does the learner acheter viagra create better outcomes for the organization as a result of the learning? Is the learner able to affect others beyond the training context? There is no score, no grade, no number that captures this outcome.



to be effective and meaningful, it must transfer in a demonstrable way that effect real-world sildenafil losartan issues. As educators, we must look up from the ‘grade-book’ and ‘look-out’ towards finding the tangible products of training… individuals making a difference by applying what they have learned in a positive

manner and impactful to

the overall organization.

Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model

Donald Kirkpatrick is best known for his work on evaluating training programs.

Let’s review his methods when considering the evaluation of learning and training.

  1. Learner’s reaction to training
    1. Did the learner

      feel the training was worth their time?

    2. What were their successes and challenges?
    3. Did they like how the content was presented?   Were they engaged?
    4. Surveys and reflections are a great way to evaluate reaction and engagement.
  1. Learning
    1. How much did their knowledge improve?
    2. Did they ‘understand’ the content and learn what you wanted them to learn?
    3. Learning can be about knowledge, skills, attitude, etc.
  1. Behavior and Performance
    1. Can learners perform and transfer knowledge to their daily tasks?
    2. Are performance standards and appraisals aligned to the learning objectives?
    3. What support mechanisms are in place to ensure performance is evaluated and measured?
    4. Are your organization’s practices, culture and policies aligned to expectations post-training?
    5. Observations and interviews are a great way to evaluate learning.
  1. Results
    1. What outcomes or results are aligned to training?
    2. These results should be beneficial at both the employee level as well as at the organizational

      level. Examples include

      increased production, higher morale, increased employee retention, fewer staff complaints, etc

Final Thoughts

Assessing is a complex notion and as you can see can be applied differently, depending upon the audience, expected outcomes, and context of learning. Learning is organic, with the primary objective being a positive change for the learner AND the organization.

Starting with effective content, good instructional design, and an encouraging plan for professional development, will support a recipe for positive outcomes for the learner and organization alike.

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