How Do I Choose the Best Training Evaluation?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson
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People use training evaluations to determine how effective training sessions are. In short, there are two kinds of training evaluations that trainers tend to use. They might distribute assessments to trainees that allow them to see how well they understand training materials, or they might distribute training evaluations that allow them to understand how well they performed as trainers. To choose the best training evaluation, your first step should be to determine which kind of evaluation strategy is most important to you. Many trainers find that each kind of training evaluation is useful, because one allows them to make sure that trainees are able to do perform their tasks correctly, and the other helps trainers improve their own performances.

It probably is a good idea to keep your training evaluation short, especially if it is to be completed during a training session. This is especially true when it comes to evaluations designed to asses a trainer's performance. Make sure that questions are concise and that they give you the chance to acquire the information that you need to determine whether your training session was successful.

Another common piece of advice for trainers who want to choose the best training evaluation is to use closed-ended questions. In other words, give trainees multiple-choice options, true-or-false statements or short-answer questions. Some trainers might find that the best training evaluation, however, includes questions that allow trainees to give extended answers. For instance, if you want to make sure that trainees know how to act in certain situations, you could ask them to write out — step by step — how they might handle certain scenarios.

Although closed-ended questions often are a great idea for certain training evaluations, it might be a good idea to let trainees talk freely about what they liked and did not like about training sessions. Even if some of the information that they offer is irrelevant, at the least it can give you some perspective about the way in which your training sessions are perceived. At best, allowing trainees to speak their minds freely might provide you with fresh ideas.

It also is important to consider the mode by which you might distribute a training evaluation. One of the most common methods is to hand out paper evaluations. You could print out copies, distribute them to your trainees, then gather information and perform your analysis. This method often works best with small groups.

A trainer who is faced with a large group and who has a generous budget might consider training evaluation software. This method is convenient because trainees can upload their answers directly into a program. In some cases, data from evaluations can be recorded and graphed or charted automatically by a program.

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