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How to measure learning outcomes

It’s the question on everyone’s lips whenever a major change programme is conceived: what’s the return on investment? At Transform Performance, we have measuring learning outcomes on our mind so we build measurement into our work right from the initial proposal stage.

There are several reasons for this:

  • Outcomes are part of the way we work: beliefs drive behaviours which drive outcomes. It’s in our DNA to ensure the outcomes drive the way we structure what we deliver
  • Everything we do is bespoke which gives us the opportunity to build it as fit-for-purpose. The most obvious purpose is to get the right outcomes so we need to be able to measure those to ensure we have delivered
  • We have a lot to measure. Far more than just ROI. We are people focused so we also measure how our work affects your people, throughout the entire programme
  • We understand that when dealing with people, emotions, beliefs and behaviours, there is a lot that is intangible. We believe we have proved that with enough research and data, there is still much that can be objectively measured

Measuring subjective versus objective learning outcomes

As with all projects involving people, nothing is truly tangible. It is for this reason that we use a combination of measurement tools, covering both subjective and objective data to give our clients a rounded view of the impact of the work we have done.

Subjective measurement includes experiential self-assessment, completed by the people involved in the programme. This can include feedback and scoring against whether they enjoyed and feel they benefited from their training or experiences. It also includes some of our proprietary assessments, which look at beliefs and behaviours to determine how people are thinking and feeling.

We carry out this type of assessment before, during and after any programme we deliver. Importantly, as it includes anecdotal feedback, we also use this to refine our delivery as we go. Because everything we do is bespoke, we are able to be agile enough to react to any trends and make improvements if necessary.

Because our own assessments are backed up by our empirical data, they cross over into objective measurement too. We use our development prioritiser tool to understand the key deliverables – the outcomes desired from the programme. Along with our initial discussions, this enables us to understand the ‘as is’ and the ‘to be’ states within the business.

This creates a baseline, a data-driven position which can be measured against objectively. Our final measurements take place at the end of the programme and consist of both objective and subjective scoring.

Doing this can highlight any areas where further work may be required as well as noting the new benchmark from which future measurements can be taken.

Measurement tools

As is industry best practice, we make use of the Kirkpatrick model when measuring the learning outcomes of our projects.

However, our own past research provides us with valuable additional measurement tools, from the understanding we have of the Destination Beliefs and Journey Motivators held and followed by high-performing leaders, to the interviews we carried out with ‘The Iconics’ in The Leader’s Secret Code, we have a wealth of data upon which to draw to understand where an organisation is in terms of motivating and mobilising their high performers.

In conclusion, we come back to the point we made at the start of this blog. There is nothing hard and fast about beliefs and behaviours. They are the currency of successful change but, with enough data and research, they can be measured objectively. In reality, perceptions and opinions can make or break a major change programme as easily as the financial return on investment, but they are rarely considered when putting together a business case.

For our clients, we can help with this right from the outset. The combination of our proprietary data built from years of research and assessments and our bespoke approach to every project provides the opportunity to create a clear and sound business case from every angle.

For advice on your next change project do get in touch on +44 (0)1488 658686 or email [email protected].

a person writing on paper during their workplace learning development session

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