Learning Evaluation, Step 3: Discover What's Working [Guide]


Just because learning is already happening in your organization, there's no guarantee each instance is being done well. And now that we’ve covered the first two steps for effective learning evaluation, it’s time to discover exactly which learning programs are working in your organization.

Take a look at corporate learning evaluation.

Take a closer look at learning.

Investigating what learning is currently happening within your organization can be useful for uncovering instances of positive learning, which don't require replication, and negative learning, which need to be addressed. Because this type of investigation will likely be manual in nature, it might be appropriate to apply the Brinkerhoff's Success Case Method.

While it’s helpful to ask learners to record their informal learning experiences, many people aren’t usually aware of just how much they’ve learnt or grown as a result of everyday interactions. That's why we recommend using peer or manager assessments and performance metrics to uncover changes in competency that would otherwise have been missed.

Recommended Reading: How to Challenge Negative Distributed Learning

If you discover (or are already aware of) existing positive learning activities that might contribute to program goals, consider including evaluation/monitoring metrics for those activities in addition to the program’s formally created/curated activities.

Step 3 Objectives

  • Identify formal and informal learning within your organization that relates to the program’s goals.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of these learning experiences.
  • Determine the extent to which the learning is positive (e.g., Are people learning the right thing?).

Making It Happen

  • Ask learners to report their own informal learning experiences.
  • Look at peer and manager observations.
  • Explore the reasons for changes in performance metrics or variations in the performance of different groups.

Up Next: Learning Evaluation Step 4, Design

In the next installment of our Learning Evaluation series, we'll cover Step 4 and show you how to design programs for effective learning evaluation. Receive our latest blog posts by subscribing to Watershed Insights.

Not sure how to get started?

Download this worksheet to help you identify existing learning in your organization that supports your new program goals.

Use this worksheet to explore learning across your organization.

[Editor's Note: This blog post was originally posted on February 9, 2016, and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]

Andrew Downes

About The Author

As one of the authors of xAPI, Andrew Downes has years of expertise in data-driven learning design. With a background in instructional design and development, he’s well versed in creating learning experiences and platforms in corporate and academic environments.