The Fundamentals of Feedback: 5 Secrets to Streamline Your Training Evaluation Process and Measure ROI

Delivering eLearning feedback can be difficult, costly and time-consuming. This article will explore how you can streamline your eLearning training evaluation process to save money and time while simultaneously increasing accuracy.

With budgets being tight, one of the most significant challenges for any company is to provide effective feedback to its learners on their eLearning progress.

Additionally, companies also struggle with receiving feedback from learners on course completeness and quality, and this leads to poorer outcomes for both teachers and learners alike. The good news, however, is that there are a number of ways to streamline and automate the process of feedback, and these steps improve your ROI while increasing learner engagement.

A company should take the time to do a thorough analysis of the corporate training, find where there is an opportunity for improvement, formulate how to address these issues, and set measures of success.
Training programs are an important investment in an organization’s human capital and should be treated as such. A company should take the time to do a thorough analysis of the corporate training, find where there is an opportunity for improvement, formulate how to address these issues, and set measures of success.

If your company wants to have a formalized review process, here are five efficient steps to streamline your training evaluation process and measure ROI:

1. Lay the Groundwork

Before even moving into the formal evaluation process, you need to ensure everything is in place and ready to go. Two important steps to this are to get everyone in your company on board with the eLearning training and feedback cycle, and to review everything carefully before it launches.

Get everyone on board

To benefit from this change, you should get everyone in your company involved with the delivery of eLearning feedback. This includes managers, IT staff, HR staff, and management teams. The more people involved in collecting feedback and reviewing it, the better information and evaluation there will be.

This can also help you identify subtle trends which may be beneficial for managing your training program moving forward. It is important to have a consistent structure for all employees when giving feedback so that they know what to expect from each question when answering it.

To simplify the process, here are the some essential questions to consider during this phase:

  • What is the desired learning outcome of your training? 
  • What are the benefits of achieving this desired learning outcome? 
  • What do you want your trainees to be able to do at the end of their training? 
  • How will you know they are successful? 
  • How does this contribute to your business objectives? 
  • What is our intended ROI for this training?
  • How will we measure ROI?

Understanding the answers to these questions will enable you to create a strong, robust feedback system that empowers both learners and teachers.

Review everything beforehand

It is important to review all training materials before they go live as part of your normal eLearning development process. Reviewing early iterations will help ensure your team has the proper time and resources in place in the event of issues arising once a course goes live.

We often find that, during every course review, there are almost always gaps in knowledge and tutelage that the teacher takes for granted. It’s difficult to put yourself in the shoes of your learners, but being able to do so effectively is vital to developing strong training programs. Reviews help consolidate and streamline your course so that they’re understood by everyone, regardless of knowledge background.
iew everything beforehand

2. Focus on Participation

It’s difficult to have accurate and useful evaluations of learner success if you don’t engage the participants with quantifiable participation. Students who participate actively in forums, discussion boards, quizzes, discussions, etc, are more likely to remember information, if compared with those who passively watch videos or read text passages for long periods. This results in improved quality and understanding of the training program material and also gives you measurable benchmarks by which to monitor progress.

Here are some tips on how to engage participants in the process and get them to provide thoughtful evaluations:

  • Publish the course in parts, and collect evaluations after each part. A course delivered over time is much more manageable than one massive project.
  • Try and utilize participation forums – discussion boards that provide a centralized place to talk about course materials and contents. Provide extra marks for active participation in such forums, and score learners on their accuracy and understanding.
  • Frequently and consistently test, quiz, and examine learners during projects that prove real-world application of the knowledge learned in the class.
  • Offer the opportunity for in-person feedback, recognizing that learners will have differing views on feedback because they all have different interpersonal styles.
  • Establish clear guidelines for the feedback process.

3. Provide Incentives for Feedback

It’s also important to provide learners the opportunity to give your training program feedback too. The best way to understand the gaps in your training program starts with the people that are actually taking said program.

Generally, you should provide an opportunity to engage participants and make it easy for them to provide feedback. At times, corporate training programs may need to take it a step further and actually incentivize learners to provide feedback for the betterment of the course. There are numerous examples of how companies can offer specific incentives for participants who offer feedback on their training course, like non-monetary awards, bonuses, or other gifts that they value highly but wouldn’t normally receive while simply doing their jobs.

You should provide an opportunity to engage participants and make it easy for them to provide feedback.
Focusing attention on giving incentivized feedback will make it easier for people to do so even if it’s inconvenient. Most people are motivated by self-interest, and are more likely to complete a survey or feedback questionnaire if encouraged to do so.

Don’t forget to get creative in this area! Depending on your industry and type of participant, you can offer rewards like free movie tickets, vacations, or company swag for goals reached. The list is endless, and there are plenty of valuable incentives for getting participants to complete their feedback on your training.

4. Automate Feedback

Collecting evaluations or feedback can be tedious and time-consuming, so why not make it a bit easier by automating the process? Using the right online or automation tool will eliminate the need to do the reporting manually, and cut the cost of collecting such feedback significantly. Use software that allows you conduct several different types of reviews in one place, using simple templates and short questionnaires specific for each type of review you need done. These software systems often have specific types of feedback templates for students enrolled in different courses with different levels of achievement (e.g., beginner, intermediate, etc).

Such software is usually built right into most modern eLearning training platforms, and will allow you to monitor participant progress directly via their work and will also allow you to send automated notifications about certain milestones and achievements. It is important to collect this feedback before participants leave the course, graduate from your training program, or move on to the next level. Automating feedback can make it timelier and more relevant, and evaluating or collecting feedback from participants when it is fresh usually results in higher quality outcomes.

5. Analyze your data

This is the last and most important step. You’ve gone through the other four steps and have laid the groundwork, engaged your participants, and collected evaluations and feedback through an automated system. Now it’s time to take a look at what your feedback is telling you. There are a few ways to do this:

Measure Expectations vs. ROI

You previously engaged your team in the development process, and set expectations and goals for ROI on this training program. To analyze how successful you were in achieving that ROI, collect data on what can be quantified. This includes time spent watching videos and time spent engaged with content. This will allow you to have data on which to base a determination of success or failure. This quantitative data can be used to find out the ROI on the training program.

Analyze Qualitative Data

Collect information on what is not quantifiable, such as attitudes towards the company or their perception that they have learned something new. Identify what aspects of the program went well, and ways that could improve future endeavors.

Take advantage of qualitative data by asking participants and instructors open-ended questions about their experience with the eLearning module after it has been completed.

Gather information about attitudes towards the company, as well as information about participants’ perceptions about whether or not they learned something new from completing the eLearning module (qualitative).

Make Note of Data Trends

Use your feedback to help determine where improvements need to be made in future eLearning and training endeavors (e.g., number of modules completed, perceptions around how well they learned something new). This helps you make a plan moving forward and make changes as necessary.

Streamline Your Training Evaluation Process

Companies invest time and money into their training programs, and use those resources to upgrade and develop the participant’s skills and knowledge. But how do you know if the training worked?

Collecting feedback on a training program is important, but it can also take tremendous investment and be prone to numerous errors. That is why you need a systematic approach to streamline your training evaluation process.
One should always begin by laying the groundwork and getting your team involved. Everyone should fully understand what you want to achieve. Afterwards, be sure to engage your participants in the process through incentives and bonuses. Next, choose an automated system to collect your feedback, and finally, analyze the data you received and ensure it has met your ROI goals.

By following these five secrets to streamlining your training evaluation process, you can be assured your training program is effective and produces the intended results.

Action Points

To begin to think about feedback within your organization, find out how feedback is currently being measured, either on an existing training program or in a non-training related area, such as customer service or sales performance.

This will allow you to start with a local benchmark, to engage with other potential stakeholders within your organization and also to build on any existing best practices.

This is the sixth of 8 articles from the eBook eLearning 101 - How To Create The Perfect Curriculum For Your Company.

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This article was first published on eLearning Industry.