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Evaluating Your Program

November 14, 2011

It’s time for end-of-the-year evaluation and for some, 2012 budget submissions. It’s also a great time to step back, reflect on our Learning and Development (L+D) efforts over the past 11 months and start thinking about where we want to be this same time next year.

The difficulty in self-evaluations is accuracy. An honest evaluation requires us to separate our heart from our brains and our emotions from our logic. Doing this as a group and including all the members of our L+D team—training, curriculum, HR, IT, Leadership—increases accountability. Bringing in a focus group of users also provides us with more accurate feedback from which to glean an honest evaluation. Just like creating a learning plan for our users, we as learning developers need to know where we are and where we want to be in order to develop a successful plan for the future.

Journaling is regularly used as a path to self-discovery and accountability. As you reflect on your successes, failures, strengths and pain points in the realm of L+D, put pen to paper to answer the following questions:

1.     What is my learning strategy and how does it align with the firm’s business strategies?

  • How is the learning strategy implemented?
  • What key performance indicators (KPIs) are used to measure results?
  • What actionable information do the KPIs provide?

2.    How do L+D assist in identifying the needed skills in the incoming workforce?

  • Is my new hire program hitting the mark?
  • What additional on-boarding programs are involved?

3.     How does leadership demonstrate their support to the L+D function? (recognition, ownership, communication, teamwork, funding, tools, technology)

4.     What KPIs are used to determine L+D’s impact on business performance?

  • What metrics are used?
  • How often are they reported?
  • How do you evaluate the needs of each practice area, position and individual user?

5.    What process do you follow to develop and deliver learning solutions where and when your users need it?

  • What metrics do you use to assess their effectiveness?

6.    In the past 12 months, what steps have you taken towards personal professional development and how have you developed your L+D staff?

Being honest with ourselves is one hurdle to overcome, but getting honest feedback from others is another. The fear of repercussion and offense is real. No matter how excellent a rapport we may have with our L+D team and users, it does not negate the emotions-factor. Using a survey tool to gather information anonymously or bringing in an impartial outside third-party vendor to gather information is critical to the evaluation process.

Last, the conveyance of and reaction to feedback is a stressful moment for both the deliverer and the recipient. In either capacity, how we handle this moment will set the stage for all future evaluations. Realize that this is our personal moment for growth, knowledge and enlightenment. Great ideas hatch from the ability to identify a problem and deliver a solution. Use this time for reflection and innovation to not only increase your professional development, but to develop a strong learning program for your firm and users.

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