Confused by the myriad training technology choices and their associated sales pitches?

If so, let’s blow away some of the smoke and get quickly to the bottom line measurement that you should aim for when evaluating your myriad training choices.

And to do that you must ALWAYS keep in the forefront of your mind that the ONLY training initiatives that have positive impacts on an organization’s performance — and, future — are those programs that generate longer-term retention — and, immediately translate into positive applications of that initial training.

Yet almost every vendor of training software or standup instruction refers to the wonderful statistics that trumpet the improvement made by most participants in their proprietary solutions. They claim that the post-test scores are considerably higher than the pre-test scores — so, obviously, the training solutions they are peddling really work. Voila!

Unfortunately for them — and for you — these results prove little. A trainee’s ability to memorize answers and retain them for a short time (usually hours, at most) proves very little and will definitely not contribute positively to your organization’s performance.

No — short-term retention has little benefit.

What matters is longer-term retention and that is not measured by taking both a pre-test and a post-test over the course of a short training session.

I would suggest that a second post-test is administered about six months after the training. Compare that result to both the pre-test and the first post-test scores. Only then will you get a better assessment of the training program you have initiated.

Longer-term retention is the aim of effective training. So, ignore the vendor propaganda and find out for yourself.

Combined with a supervisor’s report, you’ll get a very good measurement of the effectiveness of your training initiatives. You’ll more accurately be able to determine what positive effect, if any, your trainees received from the training choices you provided them.

Training has never been more necessary nor more powerful. It’s only unfortunate that too few vendors pay attention to that promise. You’ll find that measuring longer term retention will keep you ahead of the game and allow you to make more intelligent investments in what you purchase — and, the initiatives you develop.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning