At the quarterly management meeting heads of department were presenting progress reports. Head of distribution had just finished sharing his news on the goods lost in transit and damaged goods issues. He was applauded for the significant  impact of these initiatives in the reduction in customer complaints and the decrease in goods being written off, demonstrating some very impressive financial gains.  


The next presentation was from Training and Development, known for their slick and impressive presentations this was no exception, graphs and charts Training Twaddle displayed data related to numbers of people attending training courses, there was a wonderful selection of positive scores taken from end of course evaluations, (Training Twaddle About Evaluation) and evidence of the increase in knowledge and skills taken from a variety of assessments. The final slide summarised the learning initiatives for the quarter.


And then, The Head of Finance said  So What

“What is the impact of that time management training on the business? “When you designed/commissioned the training how did you research the impact of lost time on the business”? You are aware that lost time is running at X% representing £X.00!”


“What evidence do you have to demonstrate how that presentation skills training for sales representatives, delivered 5 months ago has improved our conversion rates”?

Could you be that person talking twaddle?

And so, with lots of evidence to support evaluation at levels 1 and 2  but with little evidence Please bang head hereof contribution to a better business, it came as no surprise to colleagues when the training budget was chopped and managers became reluctant to support training initiatives that they perceived made little difference to key strategic issues.

Where does evaluation start? Definitely not at the end!

Evaluation is traditionally represented as the final stage in a systematic approach with the purpose being to improve interventions (formative evaluation) or make a judgement about worth and effectiveness (summative evaluation)

Why evaluate when the game is over? Evaluation is an integral part of instructional design and it starts BEFORE the training at the beginning of the design stage.

 Brinkerhoff’s Six Stage Model

Using the Brinkerhoff model training must meet two criteria.

  • It must produce learning changes with efficiency and efficacy. Efficacy = Power or capacity to produce a desired effect
  • If it does not result in some benefit to the organisation, then it has no worth. Worth is defined as the extent to which T&D produces value to the organisation at a reasonable cost.


Brinkerhoff’s model provides us with a systems approach to evaluating training the model examines both process and outcomes continuously throughout the development and delivery cycle, the benefit of the approach is that it is responsive to business issues.

Because it’s responsive, this model requires L&D departments to adopt a completely different approach to training needs analysis however; the benefits are greater capability to provide measurable solutions to emerging business needs.

Critical Questions

  • The first question is “what is the business objective that this solution needs to address now”?
  • What performance improvement objectives could be derived from the improvement of the business process?
  • What evidence, measures, benchmarks, are available to us to inform the design of solutions and evaluate whether those solution are effective.


Needs analysis that is approached once a year, and, solely as a competency based activity, fails to react to the problems that the business experiences NOW. This approach also fails to address the operational issues and strategic aims of the business.  

The measure of effective training and development at the top table is about what business benefits are occurring as a result of learning and development intervention the role of L&D is to enhance capability by leveraging business results from investments in learning

 Spectrain offer a range of solutions to enable you to align the activity of your training and development department with the requirements of the business. See our solutions for Managing Training and Development