How to Assess Learning During a Training Session

It is just as important to assess learning during a training session, as before and after the session. You need to include this in your training plan to ensure that your trainees do not get lost at any stage of the training program.

Review the Learning Objectives

At the beginning of the program, make sure you review the learning objectives of the course with participants. Give them the opportunity to give you feedback about the objectives:

  • Are all the objectives clear?
  • Is there anything that is missing?
  • Do the objectives seem reasonable?
  • Do participants understand how these learning points can translate back to the workplace?

During the program, check in with participants to make sure you’re still on track with the learning objectives. When participants are asked to perform evaluations, point out the ties back to the learning objectives.

Hip-Pocket Assessments

During the training session, check in with participants and evaluate them on reactionary and learning levels. Questions that you will want to ask include:

  • How do participants feel about the training?
  • What has been the best thing about the training so far? The worst thing?
  • What have participants learned?
  • What would participants still like to learn?
  • You may also want to ask specific questions about key content points.

Quizzes and Tests

Quizzes and tests are a good way to measure how much participants are learning during the course. Mid-point tests are useful in many situations, including:

  • Workshops that have a lot of content
  • Workshops with challenging content
  • Long workshops
  • Topics that depend on each other

Don’t forget that a test does not have to mean an hour-long exam. Try some of these fun ideas instead:

  • Divide participants into pairs or teams. Have them write quiz questions for each other. If the group is competitive, make it a tournament.
  • Place sheets of flip chart on the walls with key topic Assign a group to each sheet and have them discuss that topic. Or, have participants walk around and jot their own notes on the sheet, and review as a group.
  • Have participants sit in a circle. Toss a ball to a person and have them name one thing that they have learned so far. Have participants throw the ball around until everyone has spoken.

Skill Assessments

You may need additional tools to assess changes in behavior, abilities, and attitude during the training sessions. Below is an introduction to some of the tools that can help you evaluate these types of learning:

  1. Demonstrations: Demonstrations can be a very powerful teaching tool, particularly for complex tasks. One method is to demonstrate the desired function, and then have participants demonstrate it back to you. Or, place participants in groups or pairs and have them demonstrate the task to each other. Just monitor the activity to make sure that the information is correct.
  2. Role Play: Role plays are often listed as participants’ least favorite part of the workshop, but they are very helpful when learning new behaviors. Conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation, communication, and training are just a few of the topics where role plays can be helpful.
  3. Games: Games can provide a fun yet educational learning experience for participants. Make sure to practice the game ahead of time and make sure that it truly helps participants practice the skill that they are learning. And don’t forget – always have a backup
  4. Simulations: When they are well designed, simulations are excellent ways to assess how well a participant has learned a skill. They are particularly useful in situations where it is imperative that participants have excellent knowledge before going ahead with the real task, such as medical procedures or machine operation.

You can enhance the usefulness of these tools by adding a subjective rating system to them. For example, you could have a scorecard for demonstrations and role plays, or perhaps the simulator can provide a report on the user’s success and failure rates.

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