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Evaluating learning and development

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It is the process to gain and develop knowledge, skills, potentials, approach and behavior through practice, procedures and events and different programs offered by organization. The line managers and other staff provide guidance and instruction to manage the learning activities. Learning and development is concerned with making sure the organization has the knowledgeable, experienced and skilled workforce engaged when needed (Mann, 1996). This field focuses the organizational activity intended to improve the performance of individuals and group which will help in achievements of tasks Learning and development approach:

A learning and development approach outlines the strategy of an organization which they implement for making sure that the learning and development activities carry now as well as for the future.

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The organization sets the achievement of goals by enhancing the skills abilities of a particular or a group (Thornhall, 1994). On frequent basis it is also known to be strategic human resource development. The approach should be business oriented which has to support the goals of business by promoting the human advantages.

And for achieving the business orientation the organization have to keep focus on people (employees), their needs, desires and ambitions to develop and produce output. This approach is helping in the development of learning culture. The significance of learning and development for organizations:

Employees are able to take out their existing role which is the basic condition behind providing learning and development in the organization. Some training may be compulsory in relation to health and safety or employment specific issues but much of it will be optional where organizations are pleased about.

Organizations which are keen to improve their output, competence and profitability will look to move beyond compulsory training and look at more varied learning and development activities which will enable the employees to make the best use of their potential and provide a precious resource for the organization. From learning and development of employees within the organization is a big source for the competitive advantage and by this the employees increase their knowledge and skills. (Tower and Dipboye, 2009). By this L&D and its effect on organization the management can take benefits and distinguish themselves by their competitors. By learning and development employees became aware about the strategies and objectives of the organizations. The conditions of learning and development opportunities helped to clear to between the learning interference and how it is allied to the strategies of the organizations. It highlights the stance and attitudes and creates eagerness for the company’s objectives and goals.

The organized process of collecting, analyzing and evaluating information is described in training evaluation which is a helpful tool in decision making and accessing the significance effectiveness of different training components. From L&D shows the activities linked with it and their benefits which a company gets from a wide range. A very simple explanation of evaluating learning and development is shaped by (James and Roffe, 2000) as “comparing the actual and real with the predicted or promised “. It highlights the needs to reflect what was hoped to be achieved and in real what was achieved. The importance of evaluating learning and development activities:

(Mann 1996) states “With the huge investment in developing training strategies, the question is no longer “should we train” but rather “is the training worthwhile and effective. In many theories we can evaluate that evaluation of L&D is the least well behavioral and mannered aspect of training activities. From this we can easily fetch the need of learning and development to reach the potentials which an employee has and to take full advantages of all the potentials from the employees. Below are few reasons why an organization evaluates the learning and development activities:

It helps in making the decision about the intercessions that are virtual in the future needs of an organization (Burkett, 2005). To show the benefit which we get from involvement in the organization. To give us the way to achieve and identify threats in a better way rather than the conditions in which learning and development will not helpful. To facilitate training departments to defend their expenses, especially when the focus on spending less even generating more outcomes is increased (Simpson, 2002). The purpose of evaluation learning and development:

The following four objectives are defined in evaluation of learning and development process;

Assess if planned learning and development objectives have been met

Constant enhancement of learning and development

To evaluate whether the assigned resources are used intelligently.

To judge the worth for money of the learning and development.

Believers think that the main purpose of training and development evaluation
is to establish a proper guideline for opportunities and programs of future by overcoming the weakness and building strengths in the areas of development (Lindsay, 2008). The process of evaluating L&D helps in reviewing the issues of variety of challenges. Connecting learning, development and evaluation to business policy:

The organization’s human resource policy and the overall business strategy is connected by providing continues learning and development by making sure that organizations employees have the skills and knowledge relevant to carry out the strategies related to human resources and development plans. If the company has a proper HR strategy, and policies are made to carry out the HR practices are clear for execution then there is a definite chance of success of organizations It is clear from a range of papers that researchers have recognized the significance of connecting learning with organization’s complete strategies and business objectives, particularly when we use people as the major source of advantage. From this it’s clear that those responsible for learning, development and evaluation have to have a good understanding of the strategy and objectives and discuss the key issues with a range of stakeholders (Felstead, 1997). As the policies are efficient or refocused it will be necessary to review the learning and development process and hence an ongoing dialogue is needed between the people responsible for learning and development and senior managers (Dawson, 1995). Learning and Development Methods of Evaluation:

Various evaluation methods are used by different managers for learning and development evaluation. One most famous approach is the Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation (Kirkpatrick, 1977). It has four stages namely: i.Reaction


Kirkpatrick Model Of Evaluation
Stage 1ReactionIn this stage it is evaluated that how do the participants
feel about the training they attended and to what level were they satisfied from it? Stage 2Learning To what extent was knowledge transferred to the trainee and their attitude changed Stage 3BehaviourAfter attending the training, how the job behaviour changed Stage 4ResultsWhat effects were seen overall after the training on the company’s profile? Did its graph go up or profit was made etc… Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation 1

Simplicity is the key strength of this model and hence is the reason why this model is used by H.R practitioners while evaluating for company. This method of evaluation is self-explanatory and feedback can be taken by the company within no time. A very simple technique to get the feedback and involvement of trainer/ facilitator. Kirkpatrick explains that evaluation is dependent upon the honesty of the learners who fill the questionnaire. An effective method to get the true intensions from the trainees about the training can be by filling out the questionnaire anonymously and in a place where the facilitator isn’t over their head to watch their comments over the training program. Another potential issue could be that of social desirability (Darby, 2006) to respond to questionnaire in a particular way in front of the trainer or fellow learner. The evaluation sheets have been more often “happiness sheets” with results that are not based on true views about the program but about buttering the efforts made by the trainers (Kirkpatrick, 1977). Stage two evaluations provide the learner with the prospect to assess their learning and to identify their behaviour change. To know that the training program made the difference, a reliable tool can be used to measure the ability of an employee before and after the training program (Raab, 1991). The stage three of the Kirkpatrick’s model is very similar to stage two. In this stage the behaviour of the trainee/employee is assessed after attending the training program conducted by the trainers. Issue faced in this stage is the difference between the evidence and proof poses a challenge for both researchers and practitioners (Kirkpatrick, 1977). In the last stage the final results are collected and analysed by the employees who attended the meeting. In their reports agreed about the facts that the overruling variables in stage 2 & 3 might have an impact on overall results. Learning and Development Analysis:

An effective analysis can only be made if trainings on analysis process are given to the H.R so that the company can recognize their specific needs. After this the company can identify their weakness and strengths in each section and then can work over the weak areas to strengthen them. At an individual level the analysis may be termed as PMP (performance management process). Another widely used effective method these days is the regular surveys conducted within the organization for identifying the strengths and weakness of the firm and which sector needs work to be done over. A serious success factor for effective training needs investigation is the need for novices to be honest (al, 2002)otherwise the learning and development openings offered will not be as effective. Issues in Learning and Development:

Other than some theoretical issues, some practical issues also need to be addressed and resolved at this level. Beginners often attend the training programs but their perspective of attending the program isn’t professional and no change is usually seen on the behaviour of the training (Short, 2009). It is more of a recreational activity for them. Also it is important for all the stakeholders to agree on a terms that what factors are to be evaluated. In any organization evaluation of various things can’t be done because the company’s policy is always to save the money and only spend in areas where possible outcome is a profit to the organization. So while in the process of evaluation only certain parameters should be taken into account for evaluation (Ellis, 2005). It’s very obvious that a single training program won’t be enough for effective outcome to be withdrawn from the training as “one size fits all” approach is very inappropriate (Anderson, 2009). Challenges in Learning and Development:

(Dawson, 1995) Rectified a range of details why companies may not analytically carry out evaluations of their provision, including; cost, fatigue, fear of criticism and difficulty of capacity. Another reason for the failure to the effective evaluation is the factors like “lack of expertise” and “lack of adequate evaluation procedure”. A major task for both companies and academics is the level to which the training alone is
accountable for any changes.(Caple) Warned against the circumstances where an administration invests more into the evaluation process than the cost of the preliminary reason why the drill was needed. It is therefore very important to see the cost and advantages associated with the process of evaluation. The final challenge in the process of evaluation is the fact that each element should be inspected individually or should it be taken on a whole and integrated out of the overall evaluation report in terms of percentage (Yeo, 2008). Conclusions:

Learning and development should be the part of training process; usually it takes place after all the training interventions but this does not states that ever time this approach is appropriate. This is also somewhat a cultural issue which all the managers as well as employees have to accept, this is a vital phase in the general learning and development conditions. The process of evaluating the training and development should be carefully introduced so that they do not become the main focus and distract from the content of the program.


Mann, S. (1996) ‘What should training evaluations evaluate’ Journal of European Industrial Training, 20(9), pp.14-20

Towler, A.J. and Dipboye, R.L. (2009) ‘Effects of Trainer Expressiveness, Organization and Training Orientation on Training Outcomes’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(4), pp.664-673.

Anderson, V. (2009a) ‘Desperately seeking alignment: Reflections of senior line managers and HRD Executives’, Human Resource Development International,12(3), pp.263-277

Dawson, R. (1995)’Fill this in before you go: under-utilized evaluation sheets’, Journal of European Industrial Training, 19(2), pp.3-7

Ellis, K. (2005) what’s the ROI on ROI?’ Training, 42(1), pp.16-21

Kirkpatrick, D.L. (1998) Evaluating training programs: The four levels. 2ndedition. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc

Darby, J.A. (2006) „Evaluating training courses: an exercise in social desirability, Journal ofEuropean Industrial Training, 30(3), pp.227-239

Anderson, V. (2009a) ‘desperately seeking alignment: Reflections of senior line managers and HRD Executives’, Human Resource Development International, 12(3), pp.263-277.

Burkett. H. (2005a) ‘ROI on a shoestring: evaluation strategies for resource-constrained Environments: Measuring more with less (part i), Industrial and Commercial Training, 37(1), pp.10-17.

Chiaburu and Lindsay (2008) ‘Can do or will do? The importance of self-efficacy and instrumentality for training transfer’, Human Resource Development International, 11(2) pp.199-206

Ellis, K. (2005) what’s the ROI on ROI?’ Training, 42(1), pp.16-21. Eseryel, D. (2002) ‘Approaches to evaluation of training: Theory and Practice’, Educational Technology and Society, 5(2), pp.93-98. Felstead, A., Green, F. & Mayhew, K. (1997) Getting the measure of training a report on training statistics in Britain. Leeds: Centre for Industrial Policy and Performance. James, C. and Roffe, I. (2000) ‘The evaluation of goal and goal-free training innovation’, Journal of European Industrial Training, 24(1), pp.12-20. Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (1994) “The evaluation of training: An Organizational Approach.” Journal of European Industrial Training, 18(8), pp. 25-33. Simpson. L. (2002) ‘Great Expectations’, Training, 39(2) pp. 40-44 Tennant, C.; Boonkrong, M. and Roberts, P. (2002) ‘The design of a Training ProgrammeMeasurement Model’, Journal of European Industrial Training, 26(5), pp.230-240. Yeo. R.K. (2008) ‘How does learning (not) take place in problem-based learning activities in workplace contexts?’ Human Resource Development International, 11(3), pp.317-330. Short, T. (2009) ‘exploring the vacuum in training
evaluation: Is this a case of mission impossible?’ Development and Learning in Organizations, 23(5), pp.15-18. Raab, R.T; Swanson, B.E; Wentling, T.L., and Dark, C.D. (Eds.). (1991). a trainer’s guide to evaluation, Rome: FAO.

1.Welcome to this, the first session in the module on the organisational implications of coaching. In this one we are going to think about an organisation’s learning and development plans

2.The company enhances the overall performance by conducting various trainings to improve the skills of their workers. Business oriented approach should be used by the company owners to spend minimum amount of money on trainings but to get the maximum output of it. A very effective approach to have maximum output in business is by keeping the employee satisfied so that he is fully devoted and sincere to the organization.

3.The objectives of this session are that you will be able to: Issues concerned in a learning and development plans
Methods certifying strategic alignment
Evaluate models for creating learning and development plans
4.Does your organisation have learning and development plans and if so, what sort of strategy does it have? “So we have to ask ourselves are we being driven seriously by recognizing business requirements, or are we creating our own understandings of what we think the organisation requires.” This citation suggests that it is important to consider how the learning and development strategy is arrived at. Has it been arrived at as a result of a considered business plan with clearly identified business needs and the learning and development strategy has been developed to meet these needs or is it, as is found in many organisations, a result of someone or a group of people sitting down and concocting something they think might be useful from the general way the organisation is operating.

5.Jarvis et al in ‘the case for coaching’ suggest that effective learning and development is there to improve employee performance in terms of the
employee’s ability, motivation or engagement and employee opportunities. And furthermore, that learning and development activities increase the amount of what is known as ‘discretionary behaviour’. That is where employees want to do well, where they go out of their way to do the best for the organisation. Jarvis et al state that this happens because L & D activities make people feel valued, give them the skills they need to do their work well, help people introduce change more easily, help people take more responsibility for themselves and helps them to take more initiative over getting results. An important part of that are people taking more responsibility for their own learning and with this an emphasis now being placed on learning as opposed to training. So the question from that is how aligned is the learning and development strategy? It is the employee performance that then drives organisational performance. Cost effective HR and HRD investment will bring about results in terms of labour productivity and in the quality of the product or service delivered. And all of that is shown in business performance outcomes. So the more effective the learning and development the higher the employee performance and the better organisational performance leading to increased business performance outcomes. 6.Mayo, in ‘evaluating Learning and Development plan’, identifies two types of alignment – Vertical and horizontal.

7.. Let’s start by thinking about vertical alignment. So how much does the L & D strategies of an organisation align with the overall HR Strategy? And how much does it align with the overall business strategy. Is the L & D strategy development in isolation from all the other strategies? Is it developed by thinking about what L & D think would be good for the organisation, or because L & D think some new idea they have come across would be great? Mayo also goes on to describe the importance of considering both operational and strategic demands when developing the strategy. Is L & D helping managers working with the senior management team to come up with longer term strategic plans to move the organisation forward, and is it working with individual managers and departments to reach their long term goals? Those are the strategic demands. As far as operational demands are concerned, then is L & D responding to managers for demands for development activities as a result of regular personal development plans or appraisals.
And do they meet regularly with managers to help them with suggestions, ideas and advice on how they can reach their outcomes

8.Next we have horizontal alignment. How much is the L & D strategy aligned with the other HR practices and policies? When changes happen in one area of HR are they made throughout the whole HR function? For example, one organisation who I worked with where newly introduced performance bonuses meant that employees did not want to spend time on development activities because if they spent time on learning and development activities their productivity bonus would be reduced. So a new practice in the rewards section of HR resulted in people not wanting to attend Learning and Development events.

9.One approach to creating a learning and development strategy is given by Rosemary Harrison in ‘Learning and Development’. The first step is to put together a strategy development team in order to bring new ideas and expertise from all parts of the organisation and to enable debate and challenging to take place. This is important to keep the process from getting stale and old hat. Next is to clarify the organisational mission. What is the purpose of the organisation? How does it fit in with everything outside of itself? What are its long term goals? The third step is to explore the core values. This would include how the employees perceive the organisation; what the espoused values of the organisation are and whether they are shared; who are the stakeholders and are their needs being met and how is the learning and development department and its contribution viewed The fourth step is to carry out a SWOT and or PESTLE analysis. SWOT is the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an organization, covering the internal and external analysis both. PESTLE being an external analysis tool that considers Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental influences on the organisation. And finally is to agree on the learning and development strategy and the strategic plan. This involves agreeing on the long term goals and short term learning and development goals in order that the organisation as a whole can reach its aims, mission and goals according to its values and for all the levels within the organisation. It is also important to build
flexibility into the process so that the plan can move with the needs of the company, its groups and its individuals. Harrison highlights the issues for training and development professionals; they are to fit with the organisation’s overall strategy and yet to have flexibility to handle local level needs; that the strategy fits in with all the other HR strategies in the organisation; that the strategy has the agreement of all the stakeholders and that the managers throughout the organisation are willing and capable of delivering the strategy and finally that there are clear and easy to use ways of evaluating and monitoring the effectiveness of the plans and strategies 10.Evaluate L & D plans

11.Kirkpatrick’s model has a very simple hierarchy structure. At each level the evaluation process is getting simpler for the trainer to get the effective results. The more privacy is given to the trainees for filling out the survey after the training, the more true feedback they will give and hence more accurate results about the weakness and strengths would be concluded. 12.It is very important for all the shareholders to be united over the factors that are to be evaluated after the training program. Often the approach of 1 size fits all is used which isn’t really effective as not all the trainees are of the same mental level and not all of their learning capability is same. So 1 might need to arrange training programs at regular intervals for better output results. 13.Many companies fail to carry out analytical evaluation because of the reasons involved behind it such as: cost, fatigue, fear of criticism & capacity to accept the bitter truth. Often companies fail even after carrying out training programs on regular intervals because they invest more in carrying out trainings then are actually required. The most important challenge is to inspect whether to carry out evaluation of elements on individual basis or collective analysis should be done.

Cite this Evaluating learning and development

Evaluating learning and development. (2016, Nov 08). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/evaluating-learning-and-development/

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