1. While I completely agree with your statements about the importance of learning and development strategies, I struggle a little with the claim above that you can use correlation in that way.

    One would expect your highest performing employees to be the most engaged. What you can’t tell is if the training is adding value. They might be more engaged with the training material because of their personality or overall engagement with the role. That doesn’t support the ROI of the investment in the training. In fact, the training time could be taking away from work time that could have driven even better results (not saying this is true, just throwing out an alternative hypothesis) It just shows that more engaged people are more engaged.

    You would need some sort of control group or baseline to draw any conclusions of the value of the training.

    • Good point Stuart! The example of engagement may not always apply- however it might help identify a more valuable link to the effectiveness of the learning. For example, in past projects, we have used manager feedback as an indirect indicator of how well the learning was applied on the job. It correlates to the design and delivery, but not directly to the learning.

      • I agree that correlation analysis is important, we just need to be careful to use it to identify potential areas of interest not confuse correlation with causation.

  2. Correlation analysis is valuable because there are so many workplace variables that impact training after the fact. Everything from technology, systems across to leadership will have an effect on how employees apply learning. Please also remember that while there is some mandatory training required (certifications or annual refreshers for harassment and bullying) there remains a need for effective learning delivery and not just an online module where people pretend to stay awake!

  3. Great article that highlights the 4 levels in the Kirkpatrick Model. My experience is that the ability to capture real-time continuous experiential feedback best supports determining what is really happening at those levels. Not snapshot in time surveys, nor selecting a subset of the many people who come into contact with an individual, but in developing an environment of openness and honesty to support positive behaviors and learning, while capturing and addressing any pertinent development opportunities. All the time.

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