1.1 Purpose of evaluating L&D Activities
Evaluation helps to ensure that L&D activities are aligned with the organizations strategic business objectives as well as the overall L&D strategy (CIPD, 2016). The assessments to determine if the intended learning and development objectives and outcomes were met. In the contemporary corporate environment, organizations are keen to ensure that their businesses are not only run efficiently, but they are also productive and profitable (Phillips & Phillips, 2016). A major consideration for achieving such outcomes is providing relevant and diverse L&D activities which will enable their workforce to maximize their potential. Organizations provide L&D activities to ensure its employees are equipped with relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities that can enable them to perform their current tasks and roles in an efficient and effective manner (Philips & Phillips, 2016; CIPD, 2016). By offering these activities, an employer seeks the added value that its business will gain from having highly skilled and knowledgeable human resources. Therefore, evaluating L&D activities helps to determine whether the program met the set or desired outcomes.
The second fundamental reason for evaluation L&D activities is to assess the return on investment (ROI) determine the value of resources invested in the program and whether these resources were utilized in an efficient manner (Marvin, Lee & Robson, 2010). L&D can improve the competitive advantage of their business, which justifies the need to invest in the organizations human resources so that it can harness the benefits and differentiate itself from other market players. However, organizations invest huge investment in the design, development, and implementation of L&D activities. From this perspective, therefore, evaluation is undertaken to examine the activities were worthwhile and effective.
1.2 The Kirkpatrick Model
Many researchers focusing on learning and development, particularly evaluation of L&D activities, have postulated diverse models for assessing learning and development. Based on years of reach on evaluation, Donald Kirkpatrick developed premised on four levels or stages of evaluation, which are still useful in contemporary research (Marvin, Lee & Robson, 2010). Kirkpatrick conceptualized evaluation as a continuous process that happens in four levels. The first level, which Kirkpatrick labeled Reaction, seeks to find out how participants the program or activities they engaged in. This level determines the level of the participants satisfaction after attending the program. The second level, learning, aims to determine the extent to which the participants learned or acquired the information and skills taught in the session(s). The evaluator assesses the trainees level of attitude change. The third level - Behavior assesses the change in job behavior as a consequent of attending the L&D program. The last stage results measure the impact of the L&D activities on the results, such as sales, profit margin, motivation, production, quality, safety, and turnover, among others.
1.3 Different Evaluation approaches
There are different methods, timing, and evaluation strategies for assessing L&D activities. For instance, Kirkpatricks model focuses on the reaction, learning, behavior, and results. Compared to this model, CIRO model of evaluation focuses on the context (what needs to be evaluated), input (what is likely to bring about the changes), reaction (how the participants react to the activities), and the immediate, intermediate, and ultimate Outcomes of the program (CIPD, 2015). Besides these two, the learning transfer system approach focusses on assessment of learning transfer (Cheng & Hampson, 2008). Among other factors, this method measures the learners ability and motivation to apply the acquired skills and knowledge (Cheng & Hampson, 2008). These models differ in timing of evaluation. Unlike the other two which conduct an evaluation after training, CIROs model focuses on assessments taken before and after the L&D activities are carried out.
Other measures that are used to evaluate the effectiveness of L&D activities are learner reflection and feedback; use of general human resource metrics like absenteeism, turnover, retention, engagement, and performance; as well as the utilization of business metrics like profitability, sales, return on investment (ROI), revenue, and market growth, among others.
Cheng, E. W., & Hampson, I. (2008). Transfer of training: A review and new insights. International Journal of Management Reviews, 10(4), 327-341.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2016). Evaluating learning and development: An examination of widely-used training evaluations as well as recent, research-driven developments in approach.
Marvin, S., Lee, L., & Robson, F. (2010). The evaluation of learning and development in the workplace: A review of the literature. The university of Northumbria.
Phillips, J. J., & Phillips, P. P. (2016). Handbook of training evaluation and measurement methods. Routledge.
Assignment 3 BEP Part A
Learning and Development Practitioners
1.1 L&D Roles and Titles
One fundamental role of R&D professionals is to identify the present organizational and individual capability needs and requirements in order to determine whether the organization has the right resources, capability and talent required to realize immediate and strategic goals both in the short-term and long-term (CIPD, 2015). The professional assesses the gap between the current and desired resources, capability, and talent in the entity.
Also, design, develop, and deliver effective L&D interventions that help to align strategy, people and processes to achieve optimal efficiency and goal attainment. This role involves designing effective interventions that can help drive the appropriate culture, behaviors, skills, and performance (CIPD, 2015). The focus of L&D practitioners in relation to this particular role is to build individual and organizational capability and knowledge that can enable the entity to fulfill immediate and strategic objectives.
Moreover, they conduct an evaluation of L&D initiatives to ensure that they are in tandem with the organizations strategy, business objectives and the overall L&D strategy (CIPD, 2016). Today, businesses invest significant investment in L&D improve efficiency, productivity, profitability, sales, and market share, more other metric outcomes (Cohen, 2015). L&D practitioners are mandated with the task of assessing the diverse development initiatives to determine if they are aligned with not only the strategic business objectives but the organizations L&D strategy as well.
An example of L&D title is Learning and Development Manager/Officer. This professional identifies individual and organizational capability needs to create and deliver effective L&D interventions for both new and existing staff. Another title is Learning and Development Consultant/Adviser/Business Partner. Under this title, the L&D practitioner partners with an organizations senior development manager(s) to offer insights on the design, development, and implementation of appropriate and high-quality L&D activities and programs (CIPD, 2015). Moreover, the practitioner liaises with the organizations management to identify L&D needs across the entity, ensure compliance across L&D activities, and contribute to the smooth operation of the L&D activities.
Another different L&D title is Learning/E-Learning Architect/Developer. This professional is tasked with creating course/training content and instructional materials. Further, the E-learning Architect is also responsible for designing and implementing technology oriented interventions like computer based training (CBT) and web-based training (WBT). In addition to relevant experience in learning and development, the title holder is expected to have some knowledge in instructional technology.
1.2 Technical Knowledge and Skills
There are specific technical knowledge and skills that effective L&D practitioners possess. First, these professionals need to have relevant knowledge and skills in organizational design. This entails the ability to deliver maximum impact in the short and long term. Second, a successful L&D practitioner is knowledgeable about corporate learning and development. That is, one has to have knowledge and skills for conducting an appropriate needs analysis to identify gaps in individual and organizational capability and designing and delivering effective L&D interventions. Being versed in this area can enable the practitioner to align strategy, people, and process to optimize effectiveness and accomplish organizational goals (CIPD, 2015).
Additionally, having technical knowledge in the evaluation of L&D activities is an important requirement of L&D practitioners. There exist different approaches, methods, timings, and evaluation strategies as well as regulations for assessing L&D activities. Having the relevant knowledge in this area makes one an effective L&D practitioner. Another technical skill expected critical in this specialty is the ability to effectively engage employees. This encompasses the abilities to engage, motivate, and lead others in the workplaces.
1.3 Importance of Effective Communication Skills
The need to have excellent skills in communication is unquestionable. The primary reason for the need to have strong communication skills in any organization is that L&D practitioners are responsible for work management and collaborative working, which need effective communication skills (Cohen, 2015). The effectiveness of an individuals communication skills is a function of effective work management and collaborative working. The more effective are an individuals communication skills, the better an L&D professional will interact, engage, motivate, and lead others. L&D practitioners need to have effective communication skills because communication is a two-way process that calls for accurate communication and interpretation of messages.
Effective communication skills are also important because L&D professionals interact with people of different educational levels. During these interactions, these professionals engage in receiving, analyzing, and presenting information and feedback on employee related issues (Harrison, 2015). The ability to communicate with a diverse can improve an L&Ds performance because of these skills critical for effective teamwork, workplace corporation, and employee engagement.
1.4 Work-Management and collaborative working behaviors
One desirable behavior of an L&D is being curious. This behavior can be described as being future-oriented, inquisitive, and open-minded. A curious individual seeks to challenge the status quo and bring innovative ideas that can add value to the organization (Cohen, 2015; CIPD, 2015). Second, effective L&D practitioners demonstrate decisive thinking exhibit the ability to evaluate and comprehend data and information quickly. This behavior is important as it helps L&D practitioners to utilize information, insights, and knowledge in a structured manner to introduce new ideas, suggest great strategies, and make well-informed decisions. Third, effective R&D professionals inspire others by serving as a role model. They strive to lead by example they are organized, professional, accommodating, impartial, self-aware, and act with integrity and credibility. The qualities are important because they help them to influence others eas...
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