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Why you need to look beyond the Happy Sheet (01 Nov 17)

Want to know how well your learning and talent programmes are really doing? Those feedback forms are not enough – and here’s why

1. They don’t give you a systematic way to collect information
The information you gain is important and can help you improve. But they don’t tell you a lot about what the training actually achieves – how much difference it makes and how long that difference lasts.

2. They give you little or no information about whether training was justified to start with
End of session evaluation can tell you what participants’ believe they gained from the training and how satisfied they were with the day. It does not tell you whether the training was actually needed, or was the best way to tackle the lack of a particular skill or information.

3. They do not reveal enough about the costs and benefits
Training requires an investment of people, money and materials. You frequently ask participants in feedback forms whether they believe it was good value for money. But this does not usually provide enough information to assess the benefits relative to the 5. cost. To estimate its value financially, you need to identify its cost and estimate the value of what was gained in relation to that cost.

4. They should only be one element in evaluating training
Quite clearly, feedback sheets should only be one part of an evaluation. The best known training evaluation model was devised by the American Donald Kirkpatrick in 1959. It classifies evaluation according to the levels of impact the training has. He argues that you shouldn’t just look at how people react to training as in feedback forms, but you also need to look at learning, behaviour and results. And of course you need to look at the value of the training and the return on investment.

5. They may not address key stakeholders’ information needs
Feedback sheets have limited value in addressing what some of your stakeholders want to know. Did the programme make a difference? Should you invest money in it again? What factors facilitated or inhibited the transfer of training to the job? Was the training worthwhile?

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Comment by Helen Shepherds Bush Housing — 24 Aug 09 at 09:41:19

I have been collating staff training for 4 years and now have a very impressive box file system of feedback information.

There are now enough sheets to wallpaper the office with some left over to use as drawer liners.

Staff say they need training so I send them on training - thats the easy part!

There follows months of begging and whining to get them to fill the feedback forms in and the information is largely useless.

Help - what can I do to to get genuine feedback?

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Why you need to look beyond the Happy Sheet