Measuring Effectiveness of Training

Professor Dr. Md Abu Taher

11 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

An organisation needs to have efficient and effective people to perform the activities that they have to do. As jobs have become more complex and dynamic, the importance of employee training has increased. The advancement in technology, wide use of computerization, and related sophistication have increased the need for training manifold.

Training widens job related knowledge of the employee.It enhances not only existing capabilities but, also leads to the development of skills, knowledge and attitudes that prepare people for higher-level responsibilities in the future. It has taken place when people can demonstrate that they know something that they did not know before and when they can do something they could not do before. Above all, training involves the change of skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of employees.

Training effectiveness refers to whether it has delivered the expected results. Training is a kind of investment which leads to achieve the desired organisational goals. The effectiveness of training can be measured at four different levels, namely, reaction, learning, behaviour and results. In training programme, “Trainers must begin with desired results and then determine what behaviour is needed to accomplish them. Then trainers must determine the attitudes, knowledge and skill, that are necessary to bring about the desired behaviour. The final challenge is to present the training programme in a way that enables the participants not only to learn what they need to know, but also to react favourably to the training programme.

Now I would like to analyse the four levels of training effectiveness as under:

(A)          ‘Feel’ aspect of training: It relates to how trainees reacted (positively or negatively) to their training. Some organisation are very proud of compiling an evaluation sheet at the end of the training process, and get the overall measure. Some trainers are very smart at declaring a money back guarantee if the evaluation ratings is below a specific percentage. It does not cover the reality of application challenges, and is just a case of thriving on feelings. 

(B)          ‘Know’ aspect of training: It can be either ‘know-what’ or ‘know-how’, referring to knowledge and skills respectively. It is directed at measuring trainee’s performance in terms of their knowledge, skills and attitudes against the criteria which were set for the period of training.

This generally means an end of the course assessment, comprising either a questionnaire to check the knowledge gained or a test to ascertain the skills acquired. A person who had undergone training on word processing may be asked to type a letter, and obviously the letter is expected to be well-formatted and error-free. 

(C)          ‘Do’ aspect of training: It is good to measure how participants behaved to a particular training. This focuses on the application of training. Knowing should lead to doing, and doing should bring the desired results. At this stage, the focus shifts from training context to work environment. How effectively have the knowledge, skills and attitudinal enhancement gained from training transferred to the job is measured here. The immediate supervisor can play a vital role in this respect by providing a feedback based on his observations of the trainee.

(D)          ‘Get’ aspect of training: Now it is the time to focus on Returns on Training Investment (ROTI). It involves complex calculations to establish benefits against costs, with a high amount of assumptions. In order to get the results, the training should fulfill financial and non-financial expectations. In sales areas, it is relatively easy to measure the impact of training at results-level, in using simple comparisons such as sales before and after the training. With regard to the other areas involving knowledge end attitudinal enhancements, the situation is more difficult with the involvement of multiple contributing factors towards results other than training.

Training is everywhere. With the technological advancement, globalisation, rapid economic growth and business expansion, organisations both public/private and multinational tend to focus more on training. Such a scenario demands the trainers to play their role exceeding expectations. It is a case of competing on trainee’s knowledge, skill and competencies, so that caring and committed trainers are more involved in training programme. It helps measure the training effectiveness more seriously. This is for the betterment of the HR professionals, and also for the wellbeing of organisations.


The writer is a Member, University Grants Commission of Bangladesh & Director, Board of Directors, Jibon Bima Corporation, Dhaka