6 Ways To Measure The Effectiveness Of Your Foundation Skills Training

14 February 2019 by Ryan Cooper

Too often evaluation and measurement of training effectiveness are an afterthought.  Yet the prime reason for establishing a Foundation Skills Training Programme in your organisation is to upskill your workforce and see improvements in performance.  If you don’t measure the outcomes, how will you know if it’s worth it?

The importance of measuring

Foundation Skills Training Catalogues are easy to install.  They come ready-made, able to work straight out of the box. The next – and more difficult step – is to integrate them into your training, workflows and systems.  That done, all might seem well and good. But training is, or at least should be, an iterative process built on incremental improvement, so you need to know what’s working and what isn’t and from that decide what needs to change and how.

That audit goes beyond a simple monetary ROI or value for money.  It goes further too than judging the quality of the content, important though that is.  It’s also a question of how the programme fits within your organisation and how you can establish Foundation Skills in your business.  Beyond that it’s about building a culture of learning that sustains the programme and helps bring it fully into the workflow.

Here are some ways to measure the effectiveness of Foundation Skills Training Programme.  We’re looking at metrics that flesh out the Kirkpatrick model to see how they can help build and sustain your skills base.

1. Reach and alignment

Foundation Skills Training Programmes offer a wide range of fundamental skill sets.  They provide the foundation for general business literacy.  The areas and skills they cover are essential for any employee.  They are useful for those starting out or at the on-boarding stage.  But they are relevant too for more experienced employees who need to adapt to new demands and challenges in their work.  

In one sense, then, a key measure of effectiveness is to be found in the numbers of employees using the programme and receiving training. But in another, more significant sense it’s how the programme is integrated into the structure and processes of the organisation.  It’s about providing a systematic approach to training.

Ask yourself, does the programme actually reach across the organisation?  Is the training standing alone or is it integrated into existing training programmes?  Before you even begin to roll out your Foundation Skills Training Programme you need to consider how it aligns with business and organisational goals and with processes too.  And that’s important for the learners to know too so they can understand how what they’re doing is helping them and the organisation.

2. Accessibility

Foundation Skills shouldn’t stand outside or alongside work, but rather need to be accessible inside the working environment, in the workflow. Make sure your programme is deploy-able within the existing L&D and IT infrastructure.  Use training drives and get stakeholder buy-in to promote it and stress its importance. Remove common barriers to training: location, time, conflicts with other programmes.

eLearning Foundation Skills Programmes need to be deployed across platforms and devices.  It’s vital to make use of mobile connectivity and the ubiquity of smart to extend the range and take up of training.  Mobile learning encourages ease of access and flexibility. With mobile learning you can learn on the go and make resources available just in time and at point where the information and skills are needed.  

Also, with elearning you allow learners control over their training, determining the pace and time.  Training can be configured to deliver a degree of personalisation and to encourage learners to take responsibility for their own learning and up-skilling.

3.  Motivation

To make the most of a training programme like Foundation Skills you need to motivate the learner. It might start with the push of training to employees, but it’ll only work and be effective if there’s a corresponding pull – a desire to learn – coming from them.

Learning design can help here. The way training is delivered needs to appeal to the way modern workers learn and access information. Remember you’re in competition for your audience’s attention with all the resources offered by the Internet. As with accessibility the key is to remove barriers to training and bring it closer to those who need it and to avoid anything that might de-incentivise your target audience.
Don’t regard your workforce as a silent audience. You need to have people champion your training programme and help motivate others. Ultimately, you’re working towards making training self-sustaining, but at the start people need a reason to take it up.

Recognition of achievement and attainment is a powerful motivator. This can mean internal rewards for successful completion of modules and assessments. But you can offer external recognition too. Many Foundation Skills Programmes are aligned with CPD schemes. If you can use the programme to deliver CPD points you have a way of ensuring formal acknowledgement of attainment and recognising the transferable benefits of continuing training.

4. Application and applicability

Preparing the ground and creating the training infrastructure are all well and good, but the quality and applicability needs to be evaluated too. Foundation Skills are by and large practical and not abstract. The material is designed to teach functional skills that allow people to adapt and to improve performance.

Foundation Skills Programmes should prioritise practice over theory.
Once the programme is in place you should start to see changes in behaviours as the learning is being applied. The quality of the work performed is a good indicator of the quality of the training. If you’re not seeing this improvement, you need to consider whether the training needs to be adapted so it’s more suitable to your organisation.

eLearning modules can be readily customised. Content can be edited and updated and context added to enhance the relevance of the material. Training will have a greater impact if it’s seen to be applicable to the tasks learners face in their day-to-day work.

5. Indicators of effectiveness

In all these areas you should be constantly monitoring and evaluating.  You need to know your baseline and your goals, otherwise there’s no way to measure ROI or effectiveness.  Most organisations will have their KPIs to measure performance and identify gaps.  As you monitor and track training usage you need to look for improvements in KPIs.  It’s important too to establish a feedback loop so that KPI scores are fed back into L&D so that training can be adapted either to remediate or enhance performance.

Beyond those KPI micro measures, you should also consider the bigger picture: how is Foundation Skills Training impacting the entire business? Is this programme transforming attitudes as well as performance? Solicit feedback and constructive criticism and start to incorporate them into the next iteration of training. Also look at figures for staff retention, turnover and new hires. If people are willing to join, stay and progress, it’s a good indicator that training is paying off.

6. Re-use and re-purposing content

Make sure you consider options to re-use content and to re-purpose it so that it works in a variety of circumstances.  Consider how you can take the Foundation Skills training modules and reconfigure them as a set of resources or repackaged as FAQs for reference.  Use assessments to test prior knowledge or formally recognise achievements like CPD.

Re-purposing content makes intelligent use of the material at hand and is cost effective as you recycle your training material.  But the biggest return it offers is to transform training from being a one-off, one-size-fits-all event to a process that is continuous and more targeted.  This helps break the cycle of training, forgetting and re-training. It allows increased access and promotes the vision that training is a fundamental driver of improved performance and career progression.

The key measure

The true measure of the effectiveness of Foundation Skills Training Programme has to be the medium and long-term impact. Any initial gains need to be cemented and built on by constant measuring and evaluation. Training should be continuous and integrated fully with work practices. You should be aiming for the higher levels of the Kirkpatrick model of learning effectiveness: seeing learning translate into results.

The happy sheets at the end of a training session often just indicate relief that training is over.  But it should never be over. Measuring effectiveness is the start to getting the most from your Foundation Skills Training Programme; sustaining it is the goal.If you want to improve efficiencies and reduce costs for implementation for foundation skills training, across any part of your employee lifecycle, try a free demo now of our foundation skills catalogue.

Ryan Cooper
E-learning Catalogue Product Manager

Ryan is responsible for looking after all of Learning Pool’s off-the-shelf content. He is always looking for the latest trends and searching for solutions to the learning needs of every sector Learning Pool works with.

Working with an incredible team of Subject Matter Experts, Ryan monitors all the markets for learning and assesses what we need to change, how and when.

Ryan has a pedigree of Product Management across HR technologies and learning specifically.

Outside of the office, Ryan has a wide range of interests from sports to science! Most often, you’ll find him on long walks through the Dales.

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