Designing Virtual Learning That Pays Off (Part 2)

August 22, 2017 08:53 by Dana Peters

Measuring Success Back on the Job


In our last post, we discussed building the pathway to learning application to help learners apply what they have learned in the virtual classroom back on the job. This was the first of two items we believe need to be included in the design of virtual learning programs in order to make sure valuable resources (time and money) do not go to waste.

As a reminder from the Part 1 post, those two things we need to include are

  1. A “post learning event path” that helps our learners apply what they have learned back on the job.
  2. A plan to measure results back on the job. This plan should address the following two statements:

 We know we are successful when_________________.
 We will measure that success by__________________.

With number one under our belt, today we’re going to talk about the plan to specifically measure those results back on the job.

When it comes to measuring and evaluating learning, I turn to my colleague who is an expert in this area, Ken Phillips, CEO of Phillips Associates.

You are probably familiar with the Kirkpatrick Model with the four levels of learning evaluation. Ken outlines these levels in his article: “Learn the Secrets of Survey Design”. In summary those levels are:  

  • Level 1: identifies learner reaction to your program.
  • Level 2: measures whether or not your learners learned anything.
  • Level 3: measures whether or not learners actually applied what they learned back on the job.
  • Level 4: measures whether the business has improved as a result of the applied learning.

For the purposes of this post we are going to focus in on Level 3 and Level 4.

For a Level 3 survey to be effective, Ken provides several tips in regard to content, format, and measurement. As mentioned, more details can be found in Ken’s “Learn the Secrets of Survey Design” article.

Unlike a survey issued to the learner immediately following your virtual learning program (Level 1), the Level 3 evaluation should also involve those interacting with the learner, often referred to as observers.  Observers (those that work with, for, or supervise the learner) are in the position to provide valuable feedback on observable behaviors they are experiencing in their interactions with the learner.

Interviews, surveys, and 360-degree assessments are solid tools to support Level 3 evaluation.

Level 4 evaluations, according to Ken, are the holy grail of evaluations. I agree. The c-level executives are looking for evidence of business results from their investment in learning and development.

Ken suggests thinking about Level 4 evaluations in two phases: (1) Identifying business metrics that have a strong relationship with learning program content and (2) connecting the learning program to the business metrics.

Check out Ken’s article: “The Holy Grail of Learning Evaluations: Level 4” for more details.

How about you? How do you achieve Level 3 and 4?

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