Evaluate Learning Effectiveness to Improve Programs [Step 6]


We've discussed all the steps leading up to evaluating your learning program—and now it's time to actually evaluate learning so you can determine what's working and what needs improvement.

How to evaluate your learning programs

Tell a story with data.

As mentioned in Step 4 of our learning evaluation model, dashboards will help you monitor the success and progress toward the metrics most appropriate to the organizational goals. And while dashboards are great for quick, accessible information, you’ll want to dive deeper into the data for a more thorough analysis at the end of the program (or at specific review points). That means you’ll need reports that provide more in-depth data so you can tell the whole story of what happened with supporting evidence and pinpoint why or why not your program was successful.

Recommended Reading:

You can then use this data to present the story of success and a worthwhile investment in the way that’s most appropriate for your organization. For instance, your story might include industry benchmarks, return on investment or return on expectation information, or just telling the story of the data on its own.

Be sure to document and shout about your program's successes to reinforce L&D's value and importance in your organization and to make the business case for investment in future programs. You also can use data to explore areas where the program hasn’t been successful and apply those as lessons learned for future programs.

Recommended Reading: The Art of L&D Data Storytelling

Step 6 Objectives

  • Determine whether or not program goals were achieved.
  • Evaluate the reasons why goals were met or unmet.
  • Collate success stories.
  • Document lessons learned.

Making It Happen

  • Use your reports to tell the whole story from learning to success.
  • Celebrate and share evidence of success.
  • Explore and learn from any challenges or problematic areas.

Up Next: Learning Evaluation Step 7, Explore

Our next blog post covers Step 7 and explains how to research further into successful elements of the project to uncover more questions and lessons learned.

Start analyzing your program.

Don't know what questions to ask when analyzing the performance of your program? Download this worksheet to help—download it below.

Use this learning evaluation worksheet to analyze learning programs.

[Editor's Note: This blog post was originally posted on March 3, 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.