Measurement Program Implementation Tips and Technology Tools
Designing the program is only the beginning—data is even more valuable in enabling you to consistently improve your learning programs. This week, we’ll discuss the “red meat”: Implementation, data analysis, and program improvement.
Once you have completed your program design, start the implementation phase by taking a baseline assessment. This means using the tools and measurements you have identified to assess your target audience’s current status and performance—and your organization’s status and performance.
Remember that throughout the assessment process, you will likely identify administrative, logistical, and structural problems that can’t be solved through training. While this can be frustrating, it is an opportunity. You may not be able to solve all the organization’s challenges through your work, but as you isolate the factors you can change through training, you can share your findings on needed change within your organization. You can document the administrative, logistical or resource obstacles that are interfering with learning and productivity in your organization - and position yourself and your department as an internal consultant to your organization.
The theory of change, once articulated, provides the metrics of your success. Your goal, as you implement your learning initiative, will be to collect assessment and performance data, and continually compare this data to your program goals.
Iteration and Improvement
You will know you have succeeded in generating positive change once you can demonstrate the uptick in the metrics you planned to address through your theory of change. Conversely, if you aren’t seeing positive movement in your targeted metrics, you can move into higher level analysis: Evaluation of possible causes for the lack of success, and experimenting with possible means of improvement.
There are two crucial characteristics of the iteration and improvement phase:
1) Lack of success is not failure. If the first incarnation of your learning program is not successful, that means you have useful data about what doesn’t work. Don’t lose heart, but refocus on where the connections between your activities and desired outcomes broke down.
2) It’s never over. Improvement of a learning initiative lasts as long as the program’s goals remain in place. As circumstances change, it will continue to be your responsibility to respond to feedback, improve the program and respect your learners’ needs.
In closing, here is my most important lesson learned: When you’re working hard to improve your program, you won’t be overwhelmed by too much data. In contrast, you will be thrilled to have access to great data and may even regret all the questions you didn’t ask. Building processes for collecting and analyzing performance data in your organization will empower you to make informed decisions, allocate training department resources effectively and focus on the changes that will make the biggest improvements in your organization.
Image credit: logos noesis on Flickr