Measuring the Efficacy of Your Learning Program

Measuring the Efficacy of Your Learning Program - Dr. Jim Guilkey - S4 NetQuest

Let’s say you’re trying to improve your golf game. Your instincts (or maybe your post-golf moods) tell you that you’re losing ground. Your friends say you’re improving. If you don’t keep score, you can’t really know which is true, right? One of the oldest adages in business is: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Think about all the things we constantly measure in business: The number of new visitors to your website in the last thirty days, how many of those converted to sales, how often they made repeat purchases, etc. But when’s the last time you asked to measure the efficacy of your learning program?

 When I wrote M-Pact Learning: The New Competitive Advantage, I made two promises to my readers: 1) that I have experience designing learning programs that provided companies measurable business results and can do the same for you, and 2) as the book’s title implies, properly designed learning programs can provide you an advantage over your competitors. Several of the book’s chapters included case studies drawn from learning programs S4 NetQuest had transformed. Because our focus is on developing learning strategies that are based on a knowledge of how people learn, we are able to improve employees’ ability to retain and apply what they learn and we’re able to do it faster, which obviously saves a company money. In more than one instance we transformed programs that were lasting months to ones that were taking only weeks.

Proven Results: Among those case studies, I shared our experience designing and implementing a learning program for Personal Bankers at a large banking corporation. Responding to a poll that inquired about the employees’ confidence to complete their job demands, employee scores skyrocketed from an average of 2 (on a 10-point scale) to a 7 after completing our training. More impressive, in the reporting period after the first training, the bank saw a 50% increase in newly opened checking accounts. Now you might want to argue if a direct correlation could be made to our training. While it’s true we did not set up a controlled study format, in this instance there were no new marketing or sales activities undertaken after the transformation, so that couldn’t account for the increased sales. Lets’ say, for the sake of argument, that only half the increase was attributed to training. That’s still 25% more new accounts! Tell me you wouldn’t gladly take that growth.

Don’t you need to know how your learning is performing? You wouldn’t tolerate not being able to measure results in another part of your business. If you are outsourcing your training to a third party, are they providing you with measurable results? In all likelihood, they can tell you very little about whether the education they provide is creating business results you can put to use. A properly designed learning program can. Doing so is a central aspect of how we approach the designs we create. We always provide data that measures the results. Can you afford not to know if you are getting better?

For more information and results, check out my book: M-Pact Learning: The New Competitive Advantage.