Evaluating online learning
HERE'S TWO IDEAS for ways to improve effectiveness without raising costs or reducing volumes:
One of the most powerful ways of improving effectiveness is to make sure that you're using the right method for the job. All training methods - traditional or modern - have their place, but too often they are used out of habit, familiarity or for simplicity, when they don't do the job at all.
There are four important considerations in selecting a training method for its effectiveness in meeting a particular need:
This is a lot to take into account and you may never find a single, perfect solution. What is increasingly likely is that you'll use a component approach - mixing methods that, in combination, provide everything that you need to do the job.Do it more expertly
It does matter which methods you use, but not as much as the way that you use them. Thomas L Russell, of North Carolina State University, made a compilation of research into the comparative effectiveness of different training media and methods, stretching over several decades. One common finding stood out - no method was inherently superior. In fact Russell's research has been published under the heading 'the no significant difference phenomenon'. What did become evident from the research was that every method was capable of being used well or badly. In fact, the quality of design or delivery was more important than the choice of method.
So, any contribution you can make to improving the quality of design and delivery must make an important contribution to the effectiveness of your training. What can you do?
An interesting example of the latter is the Trainer Activity Profile (TAP) methodology, developed by the Institute of IT Training to improve the quality of classroom delivery. A survey (July 1999) of the 500 people who have so far received TAP training showed that:
Of course these are not necessarily indicators of effectiveness, but they do indicate that training trainers can make a difference. As they say, if a job's worth doing
The effect of better learning
© Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1999. All rights reserved. Last revised 27/8/99