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Quantifying Success in Training

I was recently asked how I measure success for my team. Since I am an engineer at heart (and brain), I like to associate “measurement” with numbers, therefore, much of success for me, is quantifiable. This is the whole evaluation process!

For training, what constitutes success for me? To answer that question, I went straight to Kirkpatrick. Other IDs may use other methods, but this is method fit my team best.

Your training should be successful (according to a pre-determined goal) at each applicable level of Kirkpatrick. The pre-determined goal setting is key!


Level 1 – Reaction: What do learners think of your course? We set a goal of at least 85% client satisfaction. If we meet or surpass that goal, we’re successful. If we fall below that goal, we’re unsuccessful.

Level 2 – Learning: What is the measurement of knowledge attained from the training? Do you deliver self-assessments or quizzes? If so, what does the grade distribution look like? For us, we set goals for our client-facing team members to maintain at least 80% proficiency on an assessment provided by our team and administered by managers. If there are areas where 80% proficiency is not reached across the board, we know we need to return to that training and examine our design and/or the content.

Level 3 – Behavior: This is usually quantified by the manager at milestones within the learners’ development. The manager sets goals of application (successfully closing support requests, resolving phone requests, etc.) and how much additional guidance is required at each milestone.

Level 4 – Results: For us, success is determined by pre-determined revenue targets and productivity targets set by team managers. If those targets are met, the training was successful.


Notice, not all training will measure success the same way. It is best that you examine your training offerings and set goals early. Examine those goals against benchmarks to determine the feasibility and validity. Some training will even measure success anecdotally through narrative feedback. Although that can be more difficult to quantify, it counts too!

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