Training metrics enable you to objectively assess the effectiveness of your learning solutions, improve training programs and drive business performance. Let’s take a look at their significance and how you can use them to determine training’s effectiveness and, eventually, its impact on the business.

What Are Employee Training Metrics?

Training metrics are data points used to quantify and validate the effectiveness of a training program. The goal of any legitimate training solution is to solve problems. While key performance indicators (KPIs) evaluate progress toward business goals, training metrics evaluate a training solution’s success.

When rooted in sound theory, training solutions are measurable. Examples of training metrics include (but aren’t limited to):

    • The number of employees who successfully complete training.
    • The pass/fail rate of knowledge assessments.
    • How well training solutions map to job functions.
    • The rate of behavior change as a result of training.
    • The impact of training solutions on KPIs.
    • The ratio of financial return.

What Is the Significance of Training Metrics in Assessing Learning Effectiveness?

Analyzing training metrics drives improvement. Often, organizations don’t factor how to measure the impact of training until after they implement solutions. Instead, they should identify training metrics in the training needs analysis (TNA) phase.

Effective training metrics:

    • Can help you determine whether the training improves employee and business performance.
    • Can help you identify where employees struggle, feeding into the training design process.
    • Can help you drive business results as employee behavior improves.

How Can You Map Employee Training Metrics to Training KPIs?

Higher-level training metrics should map to training KPIs; otherwise, they won’t represent accurate results. For example, in Kirkpatrick’s model, level 3 determines the behavior change that occurred as a result of a training intervention. The training metrics you gather for level 3 should map to KPIs that include the desired behavior. Level 4 maps to the impact training has on business outcomes. Those metrics should map to the KPIs used to determine how the company is performing.

What Strategies Can Help You Identify the Right Employee Training Metrics for Your Training Program?

The list below outlines some useful strategies to identify the right training metrics:

    • Consult with key stakeholders before development to identify the metrics they care about. Make sure to use your learning and development (L&D) expertise to inform your collaboration.
    • Avoid using L&D jargon when collaborating with stakeholders. Modify your language to suit the audience.
    • Focus on objective, quantifiable metrics. Subjective ratings can be misleading and are difficult to validate.
    • Determine the value of measuring the effectiveness of a training program. It takes effort to evaluate training effectiveness, and training programs that support key strategic outcomes should be the focus of your measurement efforts.
    • Report honestly, even when faced with poor results. Accept and learn from failure.
    • Avoid highlighting low-level metrics, such as enrollment and completion rates.

Which Models Can You Use to Measure Employee Training Effectiveness and Impact?

There are several training metric models that you can pick from to measure training effectiveness and impact. The list below briefly summarizes a few well-known models. Many organizations use one or more of these models, sometimes modifying them to fit their needs. Using models like the ones listed below is useful because they’ve been tested over the years.

Learning-transfer Evaluation Model (LTEM)

The LTEM is an eight-tiered assessment strategy:

    1. Attendance
    2. Activity
    3. Learner perceptions
    4. Knowledge
    5. Decision-making competence
    6. Task competence
    7. Transfer
    8. Effects of transfer

The first two levels (attendance and activity) do not provide enough data to determine effectiveness but do provide a foundation for each succeeding level.

Kaufman’s Five Levels of Evaluation

This model includes five levels:

    1. Input and process
    2. Acquisition
    3. Application
    4. Organizational output
    5. Societal outcomes

These training metrics span measurable results, starting from how effective learners believed the training materials were (input and process) to the impact the training has at the organizational level (societal outcomes).

The Success Case Method

Instead of focusing on the success levels of specific training programs, this model measures how well an organization leverages training. It attempts to consider factors outside a training program that might influence employee performance and business results.

Context, Input, Process and Product Evaluation Model (CIPP)

The CIPP model measures:

    1. The impact of context, input, process and product
    2. Sustainability
    3. Effectiveness
    4. Transportability

This model is iterative and is used throughout a training solution instead of only after it is complete.

Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation

Kirkpatrick’s model is, perhaps, the most ubiquitous model and is the starting point of many other models. Its taxonomy measures:

    1. Learner reaction
    2. Knowledge retention
    3. Behavior change
    4. Impact on the business

The right training metrics can serve to validate the level of success of your training programs. Perhaps even more importantly, they drive the development and implementation of more effective training solutions.