Archive for the ‘Evaluation’ Category

I had an annual check-up today with my dermatologist. It’s a ritual following an episode with skin cancer several years ago. Even though there has been no recurrence, it’s important to have that time of checking in with a professional to make sure all is well.

There are so many areas of life where we need to stop and evaluate where we are, and usually we are helped by the wisdom and insights of others. It doesn’t always need to be a professional. Many times a trusted friend is all we need to talk things through – someone who will be honest with us, tell us like it is, ask us questions and let us come to our own conclusions.

Where do you need a check-up?

  • in your relationship with that special someone?
  • in your career path?
  • in some physical concern?
  • in your spiritual life?
  • in dealing with issues that have haunted you for too long?
  • some other area?

So many people suffer unnecessarily by waiting too long to go for a check-up. Some even avoid doing so precisely because they know something is wrong and they just don’t want to hear the news. But the smart thing to do for yourself and those you love is to do it now. You’ll either leave with the peace that comes from confirmation that all is well or with a knowledge of what is wrong and a beginning point for taking corrective action.

Leap year lesson #81 is We need occasional check-ups.

Starting LineI read an excellent article today by Paul Kearns called “All you need to know about training evaluation in about 700 words.” I’ll respond with about 800 words. The article resonated with me because I have spent most of my adult life in some role related to training or education. I’ve been in a million conversations about evaluating training and have been subjected – as learner and trainer – to various and sundry attempts to evaluate training.

Kearns’ point in the article is that the Kirkpatrick levels of evaluation that learning organizations have discussed for decades have always been and will always be inadequate, even if you try to amend them by throwing in the more recently added fifth level for ROI. (Just in case you’re not familiar with Kirkpatrick’s levels, Kearns summarizes the original four levels as 1) reaction to training, 2) testing learning, 3) applying learning in the workplace and 4) business impact.)

Why the inadequacy of Kirkpatrick? Because the point of any training in the workplace is to improve business performance in some way, and unless you have first adequately measured and recorded a baseline of that performance before training, then you have no basis for rightly evaluating the effectiveness of the training afterward. I would also add that you must be able to separate the impact of, for example, learning that happens as a result of attending a class or completing an online module or asking colleagues via a social network or reading on one’s own from learning that occurs in other contexts, or else your quantitative calculations will be tainted with unverifiable assumptions that your training is the reason for the difference.