Knowing if your training program is effective begins with the ability to track key learning metrics. That’s why you’ll see every eLearning system from here to Timbuktu touting its oh-so-cool tracking capabilities.
But are companies taking advantage of these capabilities? And do these metrics really help companies understand the effectiveness of training? We explore here.
What are Companies Tracking in eLearning?
For the most part, companies are using the tracking capabilities offered by their learning systems. In fact, there are four common learning metrics you’ll find most companies tracking:
- Compliance: Compliance is the most basic metric to track. It tells you when training is viewed or opened by which users. Compliance is usually tracked by individual users via a login system.
- User Activity: User Activity tells you what a person is doing once he or she logs into your learning system. Most often, you can track what a person is clicking and where he or she is engaging within the system.
- Progress: Progress tracking gives you a better picture of how learners are moving through the system, usually by chapter, section or course. Most eLearning systems have some sort of question and answer feature that assess learners’ comprehension and understanding. Progress tracking can be done before, after—and with advanced tools—during training. It helps confirm that users are actually viewing the training instead of pressing play and drifting off.
- Duration: Duration tracking is the total time spent in an eLearning course. It’s a useful function not only because it helps hold people accountable for how much time they spend per course, but because it helps you understand the effectiveness of your material. For example, if multiple users are taking just five minutes to complete a course that should take 20, it may be that your material was not relevant or engaging.
Are these metrics enough to get a full picture of the effectiveness of training? The short answer is no. For example, say your goal is to increase overall production efficiency by 10 percent by improving employees’ understanding of how the production process works. To see if your training made a difference, you must measure how efficient the production process is before training and how efficient it as after training.
In the Kirkpatrick Four-Level Training Evaluation Model, these “after training” portions are the “Behavior” and “Results” levels:
- Reaction: The degree to which participants react favorably to the training. (What did you think about this training? Do you like this training?)
- Learning: The degree to which participants acquire the intended knowledge, skill, attitudes, confidence and commitment based on their participation in a training event. (Are you getting the knowledge and gaining the skills you need for this job?)
- Behavior: The degree to which participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job. (Now that training is over, are you actually using what you’ve learned?)
- Results: The degree to which targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training event and subsequent reinforcement. (Did the training help achieve desired organizational goals?)
Learning systems today exclusively focus on measuring what’s happening within their domain. They do not provide tools for tracking behavior or results, nor do they offer a way for you to plug in your findings for improved reporting. And because finding these additional metrics is such a time-consuming process, most organizations fail to get it done. As a result, they never truly know if training is effective, no matter how many metrics they’re tracking within the system.
If you're interested, check out ExpandShare's eLearning Services to see how your program can be an epic success.