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Predictive and proactive: Desjardins’ new training evaluation model

With the just weeks away, Ellicom is pleased to present a little sneak preview of the themes that will be covered by its speakers. On June 2, from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, Alain Garceau, renowned designer with over twenty years’ experience in the training industry, will present an innovative project currently underway at Desjardins: the implementation of a new evaluation model used to better predict the effects of training.

By Alain Garceau

You run into your manager, who wants to know how well the new training program is going. What would you tell this manager? Would you highlight any specific elements? Would you be able to submit a report containing relevant insight about the effectiveness of the learning strategy?

These days, evaluating the effectiveness of training activities is more of a necessity than ever. Companies can no longer invest in their employees’ development without inquiring as to whether the training yields the desired results.

In organizations across Quebec, a large portion (93% of training evaluation practices focuses on participants’ emotional reactions. Unfortunately, this information, usually obtained through a questionnaire, isn’t very useful for demonstrating the effects of the training to decision-makers. Rather, a successful professional training is more accurately measured by changes in workplace behaviour and signs of improved performance. If these goals have been achieved, the training can be deemed a success, as it has helped create the desired results.

Predictive factors for evaluating training effects

Measuring learning transfer in the workplace is expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes difficult. However, several studies have identified factors that impact how learning happens in the workplace (Colquitt et al., 2000; Saks & Haccoun, 2013). The learner’s sense of self-efficacy, their motivation to apply the acquired knowledge, and their perception of the training’s usefulness (in terms of knowledge and expected support) are among the main factors that impact learning transfer. Why not take our current evaluation tools and integrate learner-centred questions that would help measure these factors? The trainings that display strong results for these factors have the highest likelihood of producing the effect sought by training professionals. That’s just one change witnessed by Desjardins after adopting these new evaluation measures.

Evaluating training effects is great …but optimizing them is even better!

Evaluation is not an end in itself; it is a decision support tool used to maximize a training’s effectiveness. Since the new measures we’ve mentioned are now easily accessible, we need to understand, analyze, and apply them in order to maximize our training results. Designers, trainers, training managers, and business partners must come together and quickly make the necessary adjustments to enhance the effects of training. This is the second major challenge we’re currently addressing in collaboration with relevant partners.

I hope these brief words have helped you better understand the changes that Desjardins Cooperative Institute has undertaken with regard to training evaluation. I invite you to take part in the Bootcamp workshop held on June 2, from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, where I will have the opportunity to present the best practices and conditions that have allowed Desjardins to implement such a strong evaluation model. I look forward to seeing you there!

 A seasoned designer, Alain Garceau has worked in the field of training and skills development for around twenty years. He has designed many training activities and programs (in-classroom, online, blended, etc.) leading his participants to new knowledge and skill development. He is passionate about learning and new technologies. He likes to have his participants face authentic work situations to boost knowledge transfer and increase the likelihood that they will use this knowledge when the situations arise.



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