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Chapter 10. Value and the Levels of Eval... > A Story to Illustrate the Point

A Story to Illustrate the Point

A training manager working with trainees spread all over the United States and Canada found that the most effective way to provide new training was to host monthly audio conferences supported by Web-based presentation materials. Because the training participants did most of their work over the phone, this medium allowed realistic role plays and useful job aids. The training manager immediately established the routine that after each audio conference she would pick a semi-random list of four or five people from the audience to call. The training manager would leave a voicemail that asked what the participants liked about the training and thought should be kept for the future, what they thought should be changed or that they still needed information about, and what they needed training on in the future. The remarks were kept anonymous.

Most of the time, the training manager received a three-minute voicemail reply. Sometimes the training manager would talk personally with an attendee. Yet even if the voicemail or phone call lasted only three minutes, she could get a wealth of information that gave her hints on reaction, learning, behavior, and results. Because the training manager documented the costs of each audio conference, she could calculate ROI and because she did this consistently every month for a couple of years, she knew how to improve penetration, sustainability, and speed. From the training manager’s perspective, the effort wasn’t that big: a couple of hours of calls and note taking each month. Perhaps this practice does not meet all the rules for formal evaluation methods, but over time, it became obvious that the payoffs were huge. Sometimes those three-minute voicemails were surprisingly enlightening.


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