5 Simple Methods to Measure Effectiveness of Training

Komal Ahuja
November 29, 2022
min read
January 11, 2024
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There are countless ways to measure training effectiveness — tests, reporting, analytics and more. Read through the best training measurement models and get started today.
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A whopping $1,111 — that’s how much companies spend on training their employees. And let’s not forget months of precious time and resources either.

It’s a lot to invest. But sometimes, all of it goes down the drain when these employees don’t retain what they’ve learned. Or forget to implement their training in business scenarios.

So, how do you ensure your learning and development department gets more bang for its buck?

Well, just like how you measure employee performance, you can measure the effectiveness of their training sessions. 

Most employees are looking to hone their skills and reach maximum potential. And it’s the organization's job to provide them with the most effective sessions and learning materials.

If you’ve done all you can on that front, then that’s the job half done. 

It’s time to start measuring. If you’re not sure how to do this, we’re going to give you five easy methods in this article. Let’s dive into the basics first, though. 

Read on!

What is training effectiveness?

Training effectiveness is an evaluation that measures the impact of training on the trainee’s knowledge, skills, performance and the company’s ROI.

Make sure you determine the goal of the training session beforehand if you’re planning to measure it. This way, you’ll be able to compare the results with your outcome. 

By tracking the effectiveness of employee training, you’ll be able to gauge whether the sessions are actually working and what changes need to be made for it to be considered useful.

A few of the most commonly-used evaluating metrics include performance improvements, behavioral changes and trainee satisfaction.

3 benefits of measuring training effectiveness

It’s a no-brainer. Organizations stand to gain a lot by measuring training effectiveness.

Not only will it enhance employee performance, but it also reduces attrition.

Here’s how: 

Helps identify & rectify inefficiencies in training

By measuring how effective SOP training sessions are, you’ll be able to gauge what methods are working and what isn’t.

To do this, define a goal. This is arguably the most important step as it gives you a target to aspire towards. 

Once you’ve doubled down on a desired outcome, you can work towards evaluating whether your training sessions are helping you get there. Do this by asking employees for feedback after each class.

You can send out a Google form comprising relevant statements paired with a Likert scale. 

Say one of your goals is to teach an employee how to manage time more effectively. A few non-negotiable statements in your form would include:

  • I find it easier to handle unexpected emergencies in a short duration of time.
  • Deadlines are not as nerve-wracking as they used to be.
  • I am able to prioritize tasks effectively.

This is a great way to get an insight into whether your employees are seeing results from the session.

Once they’ve successfully answered the objective questions, ask them for suggestions on how to improve.

Use these to inform your next training program. Regularly reviewing learning and development initiatives in this manner can help identify areas where training is lacking or ineffective. 

Determines ROI for the training session 

Senior management is very particular in terms of budget allocation, which is why you need to show them high ROI if you plan to continue conducting employee training programs.

After all, return on investment is a top priority for all organizations.

By measuring training effectiveness, you can zero in on key metrics and understand boost in ROI.

Figure out which metrics you want to use —e.g., increase in profits, sales, overall productivity or department-specific KPIs — and consistently create reports that help evaluate training sessions in terms of business impact. 

Enables resource allocation based on priority

When you measure training effectiveness, you’ll be able to evaluate which programs are performing better and have the biggest impact on business productivity.

Based on these findings, you can allocate budgets to trainers and learning material for maximum resource utilization.  

A good training program can help your employees upskill and contribute more towards the organization.

In cases where a new project is on the table, you will be able to make an informed decision about which program to implement for the best results. 

5 ways to measure training effectiveness

Measuring training effectiveness is not optional. You need to perform this exercise for your employee’s wellbeing and business growth.

There are a ton of methods you can use to measure how well your training programs are.

And they heavily depend on your training objectives and the business goals you had set out earlier on. 

Here are five of the most popular ways through which you can measure your training effectiveness: 

Kirkpatrick’s four-level training evaluation model

In the 1950s, Professor Donald Kirkpatrick developed this model to help organizations understand how well individuals are performing in their training sessions.

These four levels of evaluation primarily focus on understanding the effectiveness of corporate training. 

Level 1: Reaction

Measures the trainees’ reaction to the training session and relevance of the program. To measure this, companies must take feedback through surveys from its employees.

Level 2: Learning

Measures the knowledge and skills gained by the learners during the training session. To measure this, companies can use test scores and feedback from the supervisor.

Level 3: Behavior

Measures how the training has impacted the employee’s skills and attitudes at work. To measure this, companies need self-assessment questionnaires, focus groups, and customer surveys.

Level 4: Results

Measures the training's outcomes, in terms of cost savings, greater quality, faster project completion, enhanced productivity, staff retention, better marketing leads, increased sales and higher morale.

The Phillips ROI Model 

The Phillips ROI Model is a methodology and approach that allows organizations to link training program expenses to real results.

It builds on Kirkpatrick's four-level training evaluation model.

Level 1: Reaction

The first stage employs brief questionnaires to collect data on participants' reactions to their training.

This stage is similar to the Kirkpatrick Model, although the information acquired here does not provide immediate advantages to the company.

Level 2: Learning

Before and after the course, participants take a multiple-choice questions (MCQs) survey or quiz.

The replies are interpreted by training managers to assess how much information they've gained.

Level 3: Application & implementation

This stage sets out to explore the reason for the success or failure of the training program.

It offers qualitative feedback to the data collection process to assist companies in improving their training programmes.

Level 4: Impact

Here, businesses analyze the impact of training material and all other factors on the participants' overall performance.

Level 5: Return on investment (ROI)

The Phillips model employs cost-benefit analysis to map impact data to monetary and intangible rewards.

This data may be used by training managers to measure and convey the advantages of their programme to other departments within the organization.

Kaufman’s five levels of evaluation

This model was designed by Roger Kaufman and analyzes the impact on the learner after a training session.

It splits Kirkpatrick’s initial levels and adds a new level.

This model is thus more practical for effective learning.

Level 1a: Input

The evaluator assesses the resources that are used to conduct instruction.

Level 1b: Output

The evaluator needs to examine how the instruction is delivered. 

Level 2: Acquisition

The evaluator assesses whether or not the learners retained the knowledge they were given and implemented it in their work.

Level 3: Application

The evaluator assesses how successfully the learners utilized the knowledge they were taught at this level.

Level 4: Organizational Payoffs

The evaluator determines how the learning influenced the organization at this level.

Level 5: Societal Outcomes

The evaluator analyses how the learning influenced the company's clientele or the society at this level.

Anderson’s Model of Learning Evaluation

The Anderson model of learning assessment is a three-stage learning evaluation cycle that is intended for use at the organizational level.

Anderson's approach prioritizes matching training goals with the strategic goals of the company.

It does this by evaluating the learning strategy rather than looking at its outcomes.

Stage 1: Determine the current alignment of training against strategic priorities for the organization

In the first stage, you’ll need to evaluate how well your organization's priorities match its strategic aims, such as growing sales, improving production or entering a new market.

To achieve high alignment, the organization's strategic goals must be clear. 

Stage 2: Use a range of methods to assess & evaluate the contribution of learning

This stage assesses the contribution of learning to the organization. It looks at the learning function, returns on expectation, returns on investment, and benchmark and capacity measures.

Stage 3: Establish the most relevant approaches for the organization

Every organization is unique and has its own unique needs.

This is why the final stage encourages businesses to evaluate their requirements and pick a strategy relevant to their organization. 

Summative vs. formative evaluation

A formative assessment looks at the employee’s learning during their training.

This form of evaluation provides educators with feedback in real-time to help them improve learning results.

These kinds of assessments encourage trainers to work on their teaching methods and tweak them according to student needs.

Quizzes, games, on-the-spot assessments, instructor observation and exit tickets are all examples of formative assessment.

A summative evaluation occurs after the training is over. Summative assessments might include:

  • In-depth tests.
  • Final examinations.
  • Reports.
  • Presentations.
  • Projects.

... that reflect the employee's knowledge obtained throughout the course of their training.

A summative evaluation is quantitative whereas a formative evaluation is qualitative.

Formative assessment assesses how an employee is learning during a particular training session whereas summative evaluation assesses "how much" an employee has learned at the end of their training.

How to improve the effectiveness of training?

Now that you know how to measure training effectiveness, it’s time to focus on improving it.

Through the feedback and suggestions you’ve got during the evaluation stage, create a plan to help you plan next steps and work towards a more efficient training strategy. 

Once this has been finalized, draft a training manual to help guide employees through the training program.

Here are six points to keep in mind while doing this:

  • Conduct a survey of your employees to find gaps in their knowledge and skills. Note these down and take action when resources are available
  • Define your objectives, but more importantly, communicate them to your employees so they understand what areas to focus on and how to contribute.
  • Choose the right software tools to help you create courses and track progress. Litmos and iSpring are a few great examples to add in your arsenal. 
  • Provide incentives and rewards to employees who go the extra mile to learn and implement. You can also use a leaderboard to gamify the process, so everyone is on the same page. This also provides an easier way to track progress. 
  • Provide visual guides to employees, so they can refer to these before, during and after the session. Visuals SOPs are important for improving retention, and having a digital guide with detailed instructions is extremely useful while training employees.

If you’re not sure how to create in-depth visual guides, Scribe's digital guide maker can help.

Simply capture your workflow with the tool — it'll automatically convert any process into a step-by-step visual guide that employees can use for reference. 


Here's a Scribe in action.

Improving training effectiveness never stops

There’s always a way to make your training programs better and more effective so they improve business productivity and ROI.

But to do this, you need to evaluate whether your current methods are working by measuring training effectiveness. 

Constantly evaluating your training effectiveness will help you stay on top of your game and improve employee satisfaction and efficiency.

If you’re looking for ways to improve training efficiency, download Scribe — for free!

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