Answering One of the BIG Questions in Learning: Does Training Work?

Written by Dr. John Mattox, II, Ph.D..

the effectiveness of mtm

Big Questions for L&D?

What are the BIG questions in Learning? There are a few like the following: How should training be designed to maximize knowledge and skill gain? What is the best way to deliver training to maximize learning transfer? What methods of design and delivery are cost-effective and stay within budget? Is eLearning (substitute micro-learning, game-based learning, or informal learning for eLearning) as effective as instructor-led training?

One of the most important questions is simple, “Does training work?” but hard to answer. For a variety of reasons, many organizations struggle with this question because they lack leadership support, measurement experts, or systems to execute the work.

Metrics That Matter

The Metrics That Matter (MTM) team at Explorance has helped hundreds of organizations over the past 20 years answer this question with a simple, scalable approach to evaluation. Using the MTM system, clients send web-based surveys to learners immediately after training to gather feedback. Learners provide quality ratings about the instructor, courseware, and value of the program. They even estimate how much of the learning they will apply and estimate how much it will improve their performance. For strategic, visible, and costly programs, follow-up surveys are sent to learners and sometimes managers to confirm that learning is being applied and improving performance.

New Research that Answers Big Questions
Data collected using MTM’s SmartSheets help individual organizations benchmark their performance and manage their L&D efforts. The data, when aggregated across clients, produces a rich opportunity for researching big questions like, “Does training work?”

The MTM team recently analyzed a key set of client data with the express intent of answering the question, “Does training work?” The New Predictive Learning Impact Model by John Heffernon and John Mattox is the outcome of that research. It definitively answers this question as well as three others:

  • What are the key drivers of effective courses that drive learning?
  • Is the Net Promoter Score a useful metric for L&D groups?
  • Do managers have a substantial and positive influence on learners’ intent to apply, actual application, and performance?

In addition to answering these important questions, the whitepaper offers simple, practical steps that L&D professionals can use to determine a) if courses are performing well compared to this validated model and b) if not, which aspects of the courses need the most improvement?

We encourage you to read the whitepaper, use the tools with your courses, and reach out to us with questions.

Click here to get your copy of the New Predictive Learning Impact Model whitepaper


John R. Mattox, II, Ph.D.
Head of Talent Research

Employee Journey AnalyticsEmployment experienceL&D effectivenessMetrics That Matter

Measure the effectiveness of your L&D programs.

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