Evaluating the Course
The ADDIE model stresses the concept that good training programs require planning, review, and revision. Each of the five ADDIE phases provides review checkpoints that allow the training specialist and the client to evaluate the work that has been produced so far.
The ADDIE evaluation phase can produce pretty graphs and metrics, but that’s not its main purpose. The evaluation phase measures the course’s efficacy and locates opportunities to improve learners’ on-the-job performance.
When a course launches, it’s not the end of the process. The ADDIE evaluation phase provides a final review checkpoint for the project. During the evaluation phase, the training specialist measures how well the project achieved its goals. Here are just some of the questions that might be explored during the evaluation phase.
- Do learners like the course?
- Do learners achieve the learning objectives at the end of the course?
- Do the learners change their behaviors in the workplace?
- Does the course help the company achieve its business goals?
For some questions, it’s fairly easy to collect information. You can find out learners’ opinions of the course through a short survey immediately after the course. A pre-test and post-test can measure how well learners achieved the learning objectives.
However, it takes more time and effort to measure changes in workplace behaviors and improvement towards business goals. In both cases, you can’t measure these results immediately. You want to measure the long-term improvements rather than the immediate results. The evaluation phase can extend for months.
Effective training helps learners make lasting changes to their workplace behaviors. The changes shouldn’t just last for a few days or a few weeks, but they should remain with the learner months after the training course. A training specialist might follow-up with a sample group of learners several months after the course to see what the learners currently do. While the training specialist might identify people who need refresher training, the study’s purpose is to measure the course’s long-term effectiveness. If many of the learners quickly fall back into their old habits, then that’s a course-level issue that needs the training specialist’s attention.
Similarly, the course should produce measurable business results. During the needs analysis phase, the training specialist asked the company’s leadership to identify business metrics that they want to improve through the training. Some courses may have an immediate effect on a metric that’s measured daily or weekly, but many courses affect metrics that take longer to measure and detect a change. Sometimes the company has to wait an entire quarter or longer before it can measure the course’s impact on its business results.