Four Useful Ways to Assess Training Participants
Formal assessment is still quite popular in corporate settings, despite industry efforts to move toward a more inclusive and open learning format. When you use our training programs to deliver training sessions to corporate customers, you might be required to conduct assessments on them to show that learning has taken place and that you were worth hiring. Even if you run training courses on your own, you still want to have a way to show results of your efforts in the classroom. Assessment makes this possible. Here are four useful ways to assess your training participants to ensure learning has taken place, and that your time has been worthwhile spent teaching your course.
One way to determine how much participants have learned is to have them apply theory to real-life situations. Case studies are often an excellent way to do this. Match participants together to allow for maximum learning opportunity, and ask them to provide solutions related to the case study you present. You can assess them on many things: their contribution to the group discussion, their presentation of the information, and their application of the theory to the problem itself. It’s important to note that “presentation skills” shouldn’t be graded unless that is part of the course. Some people just aren’t great with public speaking, so pay attention to the content, rather than the effectiveness of someone’s delivery.
If you want a fast and furious method of assessing your training participants, hold a lightning round. This is a game show style question and answer period. You can even make a game of it to take the edge off for some people who might be nervous about being assessed as part of their training. Set a timer, and ask questions of participants. Just like game shows you see on television, they’ll only have so much time to answer questions. You can determine their level of knowledge based on the quality of their answers, quantity of their responses, and their ability to apply the information in the heat of the moment.
If you want to skip tests and exams, but still need to give a formal assessment to show learning has taken place, consider a verbal assessment approach. You can either assess participants individually one-on-one, or you can do this in a group setting. Group settings can both take the pressure off participants, and make them feel self-conscious about getting an answer wrong. So if you are going to use a group setting, make sure to open and honest, and understanding about how people might react to this kind of assessment style.
Have someone write about their experience if you want to get to the heart of learning. Having participants articulate what they learned through writing is a great way to get people to open up, reflect on their learning experience, and plan for ways to apply the learning later in life. It’s also the least invasive style of assessment and doesn’t put people on the spot in front of the whole group. It will take a bit of time to read and grade responses, but it’s a great form of assessment for training based on soft skills and communication and leadership training.