Getting Serious About Continuous Improvement

Just read a couple of papers on learning and development evaluation:  a  2010 article from McKinsey that started only 8% of organizations actually evaluate the value of their learning and development programmes and  the recent CIPD  2012 learning reviews that indicated theta evaluation was the number 1 priority for learning  and development professionals in the UK.  I must admit I got a ere are 3 main reasons why this is a hot topic issue for me.
Firstly it has been a source of exasperation for many years that the data that L&D collect is usually low level and not particularly influential for key stakeholders. Smiley sheets (heavily dependent on feeding the trainees well) never has and never will  cut the mustard by itself. Why do we use it so much well there is a benefit to collecting some initial  reaction and learning feedback but if we are honest we do it because it is easy and our stakeholders are not asking for anything else at the moment.

Coming to my second point 2 and what is worse is that all too often there has been little thought on designing in evaluation at the front end. This can have a huge positive effect on the overall design. Questions like how will we encourage and measure learning application? are great questions to consider at the design stage. Come to that, understanding what impact you hope the initiative to have before you design it is pretty useful too.

My last point is about continuous improvement and evidence based change. If you evaluate effective a programme you empower yourself to improve it. We have a working rule of thumb that the minimum improvement you should expect in year2 of a programme is a 20 % improvement.

The reality is that even with the most successful programmes the potential upside on improvement is often significantly larger  than that.  Designing in evaluation allows your programmes to evolve and improve over time isn’t  that better than throwing away the programme every 3 or 4 years and starting again or maintaining it as a “sacred cow” that has less impact each year?

Evaluation is a practical and systematic way of adopting and executing a solutions orientation.  If we are not doing that we are simply scattering seeds in a field ( paid for by someone else)  and and hoping some of them will grow. You might perhaps call that a “Spray and pray strategy”

Why not give us a call to set a complimentary coffee and white board session with one of our Leadership consultants. You set the agenda (and supply the coffee) and we’ll bring some good collegial discussion and an idea or two why not contact us right now?

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