Learning & Development - Measuring Learning Effectiveness - Part IV

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t 
control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” ― H. James Harringto

In this series on Learning and development, we have touched upon so far on key learning principles, learning Types and developed an understanding of learning style in previous posts. Now let us touch upon upon Learning Effectiveness and challenges around measurement. There are 2 key concepts prevalent while talking about learning effectiveness. ROI and RoE.

As per Return on Investments (ROI), cost benefit analysis is carried out by companies to link benefits of the learning initiatives both at the organization & employee level to the learning spend, the benefits are measured in monetary terms, however, Return on Effectiveness (RoE) measures business metrics relating to effectiveness of the training instead of returns on investment. ROE demonstrates the degree to which training initiatives satisfy the expectations of key business stakeholders. 

Business partnership is necessary to bring about positive ROE. it is essential to negotiate and clarify with stakeholders what the expectations are regarding training outcomes. Clear and precise success indicators (eg percent changes in performance metrics) should be developed in line with these expectations. The training evaluation should then assess and report on both the actual changes that have come about as a result of the training and the extent to which these changes have met stakeholders’ expectations, ie whether there has been a ‘Return on Expectations’. 

What is important to note is that in ROE, we are not attempting to isolate the impact of training to business value. To isolate the impact of training is methodologically impossible and strategically counterproductive. If we're trying to build partnerships with managers of trainees, we can't use an evaluation plan that isolates the impact of training alone and ignores the critical management support after the training event. In this aspect ROE (Return on Expectations) is different from ROI (Return on Investment) 

There are multiple models including CIPP Model by Daniel L. Stufflebeam, Success Case Method Evaluation Model by Robert O. Brinkerhoff, High Impact Evaluation Model, by Canadian Society for Training and Development, Stakeholder Approach to evaluating Training by Fred W. Nickol, Kirkpatrick’s Model of Evaluation by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick and many more available to measure the learning effectiveness. Every model will have its own advantage and disadvantages. 

Having gone through various model, I personally tend to subscribe to Kirkpatrick’s Model of Evaluation.It is divided into four parts: reaction; learning; behaviour and results. The below picture is self explanatory

It wont be feasible to measure all the programs on level 3 and 4, hence it is imperative that we identify the high impact programs keeping in view the program alignment to the larger business objective, potential strategic and financial impact and availability of executive sponsorship and support which would be key to deliver the impact. 

With this, I will conclude this series on Learning and development with the hope that this provides you few pointers to develop your learning and development strategy and execution plan.

Learning & Development - Learning Styles - Part III

Having got the overview of key learning principles and learning Types in my previous posts, It is of great benefit if we as learning Facilitators understand employees learning style early 
on so that learning may become easier and less stressful.

Most people learn best through a combination learning styles, but everybody is different. Although most people use a combination of the three learning styles, they usually have a clear preference for one. Let us look at 3 main types of learning styles

Auditory Learners: Hear

Auditory learners would rather listen to things being explained than read about them. Reciting information out loud and having music in the background may be a common study method. An employee with an auditory learning style learns best when information is delivered in auditory formats such as lectures, discussions, oral readings, audio recordings, or podcasts. Auditory learners do well in classroom settings where professor lectures and student discussions are the norm. These students also do well with taped courses and group study situations. 

Visual Learners: See

Visual learners learn best by looking at graphics, watching a demonstration, or reading. For them, it's easy to look at charts and graphs, but they may have difficulty focusing while listening to an explanation. An employee with a visual learning style learns best when information is presented in visual formats such as books, articles, web pages, images, videos, or diagrams. Visual learners do well with class handouts, power point presentations, movies, and chalkboards. These students take detailed notes, highlight their texts, and use flow charts for study aids. 

Kinesthetic or Tectile Learners: Touch

Kinesthetic learners process information best through a "hands-on" experience. Actually doing an activity can be the easiest way for them to learn. Sitting still while studying may be difficult, but writing things down makes it easier to understand. An employee with a tactile learning style learns best when information is conveyed in "hands-on" settings such as trade positions, labs, workshops, or participatory classes. Tactile learners respond well to touching and creating things in areas such as art and science. These students want to hold and manipulate the subject matter, rather than merely viewing an image of it.

Participants will use multiple types of learning processes during your presentation. When you use different modes of presentation (e.g., lecture, case study analysis, role playing, and discussion) and encourage active participation, you will more effectively facilitate optimal learning.

In my next post, I will touch upon Learning Effectiveness and challenges around measurement. Watch out the space!

Learning & Development - Types of Learning - Part II

In continuation of my earlier post on Learning Principles, let us now deliberate on various types of learning : 

Bloom's Taxonomy : Psychologist Benjamin Bloom developed a classification scheme for types of learning which includes three overlapping domains: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. 

Skills in the cognitive domain, the one most relevant to faculty and administrator training include 1) knowledge - remembering information 2) comprehension - explaining the meaning of information 3) application - using abstractions in concrete situation 4) analysis - breaking down a whole into component parts  and 5) synthesis - putting parts together to form a new and integrated whole.

For example, knowing that the Right to Information Act (RTI) was passed by Indian Parliament in 2005 is knowledge. Explaining what the law means is comprehension. Application is illustrated when someone knows how to seek requisite information. Analysis is required to discuss the details of specific applications. Finally, synthesis is needed to develop future policies and procedures in response to the RTI.

Psychomotor learning is the relationship between cognitive functions and physical movement. In psychomotor learning, attention is given to the learning of coordinated activity involving the arms, hands, fingers, and feet, while verbal processes are not emphasized. Behavioral examples include driving a car, throwing a ball, and playing a musical instrument. 

The Affective domain describes learning objectives that emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, or a degree of acceptance or rejection. While there is an emphasis that affective domain is essential for learning, but this is often overlooked as this is hardest to evaluate. Most of the learning material focus on the cognitive aspects of Bloom Taxonomy.

Tennant's A.S.K. - Professor Mark Tennant (1995) categorized types of learning in a different way. The acronym A.S.K., developed by Tennant, represents the three types of learning that occur in training:

A represents "attitude," also known as affective learning. An example of this type of learning is a shift in attitude toward the academic abilities of students with disabilities. 

S represents "skills," often called psychomotor or manual learning. Learning to operate adaptive technology is an example of the development of skills.

K represents "knowledge." Cognitive learning is the formal term used for mental skills such as recall of information. An example of knowledge is information on available resources related to disability issues.

Gardner's Seven Knowledge Types : Howard Gardner developed a theory of multiple intelligences based upon research in the biological sciences, logistical analysis, and psychology. He breaks down knowledge into seven types:
  1. Logical-mathematical intelligence: the ability to detect patterns, think logically, reason and analyze, and compute mathematical equations (e.g. chemists, economists, engineers).
  2. Linguistic intelligence: the mastery of oral and written language in self-expression and memory (e.g., journalists, lawyers, politicians).
  3. Spatial intelligence: the ability to recognize and manipulate patterns (large or small) in spatial relationships (e.g., architects, pilots, sculptors).
  4. Musical intelligence: the ability to recognize and compose musical quality (pitches, tones), and content (rhythms, patterns) for production and performance (e.g., composers, conductors, musicians).
  5. Kinesthetic intelligence: the ability to use the body, or parts of the body to create products or solve problems (e.g. athletes, dancers, surgeons).
  6. Interpersonal intelligence: the ability to recognize another's intentions, and feelings (e.g., managers, sales people, social workers).
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence: the ability to understand oneself and use the information to self-manage (e.g., entrepreneurs, psychologists).
Gardner's theory purports that people use these types of intelligence according to the type of learning that is necessary, their personal strengths and abilities, and the environment in which the learning takes place.

Different learning strategies are applied keeping in view types of learning to maximize learning ease and outcomes. In my next post, I will touch on different learning styles. Watch out the space! 


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