Friday, December 6, 2019

Give Thanks For Truth In Evaluation by Jim Kirkpatrick

Freedom of speech is a right that many fought hard to attain, and we do not believe it should be taken for granted. This November, we in the United States, we should take a moment to be thankful that we live in a country that allows us to freely speak the truth. Here’s how we can do this in training evaluation. 

Some training professionals have the core belief that information about what happens in the classroom and the workplace should always be positive. This shapes how they go about gathering and interpreting data. They develop surveys and questionnaires that almost beg for positive responses. Here are examples of Likert scale questions that make it uncomfortable to respond negatively: 

  • The facilitator was highly skilled at managing the classroom. 
  • This program exceeded my expectations. 
  • I would highly recommend this program to others. 

We believe and teach that evaluation data and information should reflect the truth. It is not about trying to win a popularity contest with program sponsors, line managers or training participants. Data and information should be collected in an objective manner through a variety of methods and sources. Truth in evaluation is the only way that wise adjustments and decisions can be made to and about programs, and in the workplace performance environment. Here is how the Likert scale questions could be revised to yield more honest, accurate data: 

  • The facilitator contributed to my learning experience. 
  • This program met my needs. 
  • I would recommend this program to others with responsibilities similar to mine. 

Ideally, evaluations should also include open-ended questions that allow participants to share written comments. This path leads to improved performance, subsequent results and, ultimately, trust from our senior leaders. This is what training effectiveness is all about. 

If you are looking for more guidance in creating good evaluation questions, check out our free Resources library at kirkpatrickpartners.com. There are tools in our latest book, Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation, as well

In the Kirkpatrick bronze level certification program, you will have the opportunity to revamp your evaluation form to get the best possible data.

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