Are your L&D programs reaping the outcomes you need?

businesswomen using tablet for training

We’ve all been there—days spent away from our jobs completing required training programs that ultimately left us disappointed, confused, marginalized and with no new learning assets.

Certainly, employee development plays a pivotal role in every successful enterprise today. But the most successful learning and development teams also understand how to measure the success of each training course and react accordingly.

I’ve outlined below three simple tools to access training course ROI and how to make improvements when necessary:

Step 1: Determine if training is the solution

It’s possible to improve operational performance with an action that does not involve employee training by updating processes, implementing new technologies, enhancing employee motivation or eliminating outdated micro-management mandates.

But when organizations are unsure of the root cause of an operational issue, assigning employee training can offer dramatic insight and measurable data leading to enhanced performance, improved production and even internal cost savings.

Traditional training models address performance issues only when there is a lack of knowledge and skills.

A training needs analysis (TNA) will identify where employee training can make a meaningful contribution towards improving performance.

The analysis can also reveal other variables that cause employees not to perform at the optimum levels– organizational culture, personal problems, job satisfaction or financial compensation.

It is essential to determine reasons for the poor performance; this valuable exercise is a systematic, methodical evaluation that leads to an actionable strategy to yield improved employee performance outcomes.

The best training strategy in the world can’t fix operational issues.

The real cause typically reveals itself quickly when you go directly to the source.

Shadowing employees for first-hand accounts of their experiences — asking questions and actively listening to them — is often the best method for conducting a needs analysis.

When conducting a TNA:

1. Identify the knowledge, skills and behaviors essential for achieving performance and business goals
2. Collect information about the employees currently doing the work:

◦ Do they have the right skills to do the job?
◦ Do they have the right knowledge to do the job?
◦ Are workers motivated to do the job?
◦ What type of training is available?
◦ How are they trained (classroom, online, on-the-job)?
◦ Are there other variables affecting performance?

3. Identify the gaps between current knowledge and required knowledge
4. Evaluate existing and new training options that eliminate the knowledge or skill gaps
5. Report the analysis findings, and include recommendations for training plans

When training is determined to be a necessary means to overcome a knowledge deficit, a learning professional can recommend or develop training best aligned with the employee’s role or function to promote knowledge retention and support enhanced skills transfer.

Create Online Training Courses for your Unique Learning Needs

At UL, adult learning experts can review an organization’s current training matrix and competency plans to identify gaps in learning solutions where off-the-shelf or custom training can close those gaps.

Step 2: Assess the training’s effectiveness    

When training is assumed to be the right intervention, a post-training analysis or audit confirms if the training produces the desired performance outcome.

Example: Information collected during the review might include the learner’s opinion on the effectiveness of the training and the impact of the training on the employee’s job performance. It can also measure the clearness and relevancy of the content.

For eLearning, a post-training review often provides metrics on the average pacing of the course, time spent completing the course and insight to the assessment–the number of questions answered correctly, the number of attempts until it is marked as passed and other diagnostic data.

Valuable data also comes from auditing pre-training performance as compared to post-training performance.

Example: Testing an employee’s skills before and after the training to identify performance improvement.

If there were no external environmental or personal factor changes, improved employee performance can link to the effectiveness of the training event.

Organizations who are interested in preventing serious losses due to safety lapses consistently review training programs to ensure employees are receiving targeted training to prevent safety incidents.

Step 3: Analyze post-training metrics

When delivering eLearning via a dynamic learning management system (LMS), post-training audits benefit from the data compiled from thousands of learners.

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This data helps learning and development professionals to isolate unsatisfactory course content through test question results, topics completed too quickly, or common exit points in the course. (Thank you, big data.)

UL PURE® Learning experts continuously review and improve training programs to ensure learning content is current, engaging and leads to measurable improvement in worker performance and expertise.

Successful professional development requires measurable outcomes

A continuum of technological activity in the business world today requires a powerful training arsenal to keep employees compliant, upskilled, motivated and performing optimally.

But these training efforts need to be measured and assessed to ensure the manpower and expense devoted to professional development meets desired educational goals and performance outcomes.

UL PURE® Learning has provided 50 million annual training completions worldwide designed specifically for today’s digital and mobile learners around the world. Our eLearning software solutions optimize employee skills and empower clients to focus on growing their business while we support their training efforts.

To learn more about training needs analysis and other facets of employee education, contact our team of eLearning professionals at