Paul Donovan and John Townsend depart from the usual "levels" characterization of training evaluation. Their model encourages us to choose from nine types of training outcomes. The possible outcomes are (from page 7):
- Reaction to training
- Satisfaction with the organization providing training
- Knowledge acquisition (information learned)
- Skills improvement
- Attitude shift
- Behavior change
- Results (impact on the organization's mission)
- Return on Investment
- Psychological capital (impact on "corporate image")
Before we evaluate an instance of training, we should select the subset of these outcomes that has value in our context. This perspective is an improvement over those that assume the universal importance of some outcomes over others. It is also realistic in acknowledging that not all important outcomes focus on learning or even performance. The book includes a chapter for each of the nine outcomes, explaining their strengths and limitations and providing concrete advice about how to measure them. There is sufficient information to help human resources specialists conduct a first-ever evaluation of a training course.
The Further Readings section references a cross section of in-depth books on training evaluation. I recommend The Training Measurement Book: Best Practices, Proven Methodologies, and Practical Approaches
by Josh Bersin as a more current alternative to the ones provided by the authors.
This book is part of the Management Pocketbook series. These books provide quick overviews of various topics managers need to know about. The format is similar to printed slides from a PowerPoint presentation, allowing quick review of fundamental information that is organized in a familiar way.