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Evaluation made easy

Henry Fuller

Now is the time to evaluate the impact of your training, and it doesn’t have to be a pain in the…

I pride myself on my knowledge and experience of instructional design but will be the first to admit that I’ve only just scratched the surface.

I started life out as a graphic designer, then a wannabe web designer, but was finally fortunate enough to be introduced to digital learning. I began my career as an education technologist, utilising my graphic and web design skills to create all sorts; web apps, eBooks, and SCORM modules.

The first instructional design book I bought was ‘eLearning and the Science of Instruction’, which I read cover-to-cover and always kept by my desk for reference. From media to tone-of-voice, the book is jam-packed with practical guidance that any digital learning developer can apply to maximise the impact of their work. It was my bible. However, I have always been acutely aware that instructional design is so much more than just development. If we consider the ADDIE model, for example, development is but one of five stages.

Further into my career, whilst working for a digital learning provider, my day-to-day responsibilities became more closely aligned with the design stage –storyboarding, content mapping, scriptwriting, and prototyping. I loved development and loved design even more.

What I wasn’t too sure of or fussed about was analytics or evaluation. Dull and complex, I thought. Plus, there was no demand from clients. As it turned out, this situation was not unique to me.

In 2021, the Learning and Skills at Work Survey revealed that only 26% of organisations designed or made recommendations using evidence-informed principles to address a performance issue.

The survey also revealed that organisations mostly evaluate the impact of their L&D initiatives at only a basic level, if at all.

Pie chart small 0.5x

So, what on earth is happening? Fortunately, the survey sheds some light on that too.  

Bar chart small 0.5x

From 2020 to 2021, barriers to evaluation had strengthened, particularly those related to a lack of learner or management time.

Since reading this report, I have made it my mission to provide organisations with a means of overcoming these barriers. I started by researching various evaluation methods and looked for opportunities for digitisation and automation. For example, surveys no longer need to be completed on paper. Interviews no longer need to be completed face-to-face. Data no longer need to be processed manually.

Seriously, analysis and evaluation don’t have to be boring, complex, time-consuming, money-draining things to avoid.

Instead, imagine that after just a small investment, you could be provided with a comprehensive report, full of beautiful, animated data visualisations and answers to burning, and strategically essential, questions, such as:

  • What return on investment (ROI) am I getting from this training initiative?
  • How has the training initiative impacted performance and what is the monetary value of that impact?
  • How can I adapt this training initiative so that it delivers a greater ROI?
  • What changes in behaviour have resulted from the training initiative?
  • Who has had opportunities to transfer their new knowledge and skills into practice?
  • Which parts of the training initiative are people most and least engaged with?

Sounds good, right?

If my ramblings have caught your attention and you’d like a quick call to chat through evaluation options in a bit more detail, feel free to drop me a message on LinkedIn.

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