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Forget the "Happy Sheets", how to evaluate your corporate workshops for maximum impact.


Hi there. Russell Stratton from Bluegem Learning. I work with organizations just like yours help transform average bosses into exceptional leaders. Now, one of the things that my clients will often talk to me about when we're putting a workshop program together is, how are we going to evaluate the results? How will we know that there's been any change in behavior? Or, if the things that we promised that we'd do have actually happened?

Quite often what people have done, we usually time honored End of Workshop Feedback Sheet, or as I like to call it, The Happy Sheet. We've probably all encountered it before. We've used them on many occasions, and they have their uses. We can get a very quick understanding straight up as to whether people have enjoyed the workshop? Do you they feel they learned something? What did they think of the trainer? Did they like the refreshments? Were the seats comfortable? All those things that we tend to ask people.

I say, well, that's good. However, we could be even better at how we evaluate training. And what I'd like to suggest to people is that we, dare I say it, dispense with the Happy Sheet. And what we focus on is the behavioral change back in the workplace. So yeah, by all means, ask people what they thought of the course, but in addition to that let's make sure that we sit down three months, six months after the training and see how people who have attended the training program have actually applied that learning into their day-to-day work. And what examples have we got that show that change of behavior?

If we look at Kirkpatrick's model, this the difference between only focusing on Level One evaluation, and focusing on Level Three, Change Your Behavior, because that's the thing that makes a difference. I can give a couple of examples where this has really worked well, particularly when we're looking at funding.

I had a client a couple of years ago, money was tight on their training budget and they wanted to look at how they could secure funding for next years program. So they had two options, first program they had, they had lots of Happy Sheets. And they went to their CFO and said, "Look everyone liked this training." And she was like, "Yeah okay, they liked it, but what difference did it make?" There was a silence.

Then they were able to draw out their second program. "We've got this program that we'd like to run as well. And what we've got here is not only the Happy Sheets, but we've also got some Level Three evaluation about the change of behavior in the workplace." Suddenly she was interested. "Oh, so this could talk a little bit about the return on investment?" "Absolutely," the said. "Look we spent this amount on our training and look what results we're getting back in the business." Guess which program got funded? You're right, the one where they had demonstrated a change in behavior and impact to the workplace.

So my thought to you is, if you're going to spend time on evaluation, don't simply just get people to fill in forms at the end of the workshop. Let's spend some time looking about how they've applied their learning back at the workplace.

If you'd like to find out some more, then give me a call or fill in the comments box below. I'd love to hear from you.

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