Are Your Learners Really Learning?

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Top-performing organisations are crediting effective learning and development as the core of their success. Those spending above the national average on training per employee are seeing reduced staff turnover and are increasing their employee satisfaction. However, how do you know if your L&D is effective and your employees are really learning and improving?

It is vitally important that you know whether those undertaking your training are getting the most out of it and are really digesting the material provided to them. This is equally as important for your employees as your partners as well as your supply chain. 

To find out whether your employees are truly engaged there are some metrics that can be used to discover both the levels of engagement and learner progression. In this post we will look into three key areas and provide you with tips on how you can measure learner engagement: 

  • What are your employees communicating to you?
  • Is the course material of value and practical to learners?
  • How should performance be monitored to ensure accurate results?

Why is Effective Learning and Development So Important?

Before we dive into the ways in which you can assess your learning and development efforts, I wanted to provide a few key statistics taken from UK 2018 L&D Report to demonstrate just how important it is to get L&D right in your organisation. 

  • 76% of companies from the report that did not measure the business impact of L&D believed that their department performs at a lower rate than their competitors
  • Companies that had reported decreased turnover were twice as likely to say their staff does not prioritise learning
  • None of the companies in the report that spent above average on training per employee each year had an average retention rate of less than 6 months

Now, let's break down the tell tale signs to look out for to ensure that employee training is really effective...

1. Communication

A good indicator to how well your training course is doing is the feedback communicated to by your employees. Are they asking you questions directly and if so, what are the nature of those questions? Are they looking to further educate themselves with a thirst for additional information, or are they asking questions that highlight gaps in the course material?

This also goes for how employees and learners communicate with each other. Are they comfortable enough to challenge ideas or is a learning culture not yet embedded in your organisation?

This feedback can be extremely important in signifying your learners needs. By communicating their feelings, you can discover whether they are content with the training provided, want to be pushed further or whether there is room for improvement in course material.

Stuck for questions to ask during feedback? Check out our guide here: The 27 best training survey questions to start asking your delegates

2. Practicality

Another key metric in discovering if your learners are really benefiting from training is to find out whether the information they’re accessing is useful to them. Whether it’s training for the workplace or in an academic environment, is the training they’re receiving really going to benefit them in real life scenarios and help them progress?

An effective L&D initiative will provide learners with easily digestible information divided up into components, but the best training courses will aim to provide information that is valuable and useful to the individual long-term.   

It’s not just about the quality of the training or the even the areas that are covered, it’s about providing information that is going to stick in the learner’s head and have some kind of practical benefit.  

Discuss with employees how they have benefited from training and ask for real-life improvements that have been implemented on the back of learning a new concept or idea. Line manager feedback is equally important in determining whether training has been put into action. 

3. Performance

The easiest way to evaluate your L&D program is employee performance in assessments and quizzes. The criteria used to determine the results of these tests are of significant importance. How are they performing in comparison with other learners? Are there patterns that indicate potential gaps in the training? How can we better support this employee?

For performance measures to have meaning and provide useful information, it is necessary to make comparisons. Comparisons can be made on programs, teachers and students to allow you to make meaningful improvements to your performance measures. It is important, therefore, to collect reliable and consistent data on these areas so improvement can be made on the fly in-line with your training course.  

One thing that needs to be consistently critiqued and improved is the way in which you are monitoring performance. Questioning your criteria and being flexible about improving the method you use to assess performance will ensure learners are getting accurate results that truly reflect on how well they engaged with learning and development.

Feedback Encourages Improvement

If your learners are not making an effort to communicate their thoughts on your L&D, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are content. A way to get a better idea of the situation is to proactively reach out to your learners to find out their opinions.

A short survey or a questionnaire will go a long way in seeing how your learners feel. By being proactive and flexible you can consistently improve your course to ensure learners are covering the right material and are really digesting the information for long term use.  

Recommended read: Is the Paper Happy Sheet Dead?

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More Resources:

 Is It Time To Automate Your L&D Processes?

Why To Introduce a Lunch & Learn Program

Software Jargon Simplified: LMS, TMS, SaaS