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Learning and Development | 6 Min Read

How to Measure the Training Effectiveness of an Employee Training Program


Continual focus on learning and development enables new employees to understand the means of leveling up to the company’s expectations and offers existing employees the opportunity to expand their knowledge base.

When training programs are implemented, enhanced employee performance and business productivity are naturally expected. But there are questions galore:

How to determine the impact of a training program? Did employees grasp what they were expected to learn? Did they get the most out of the new knowledge at work? Did they achieve the objectives? And was the training initiative worth the organization’s investment? Of course, the answers to these questions will depend on the quality of the training imparted and whether it effectively met its goals and objectives. That’s where the concept of training effectiveness comes into play.

If you believe that training is expensive, it is because you do not know what ignorance costs.

This blog offers detailed insights on measuring training effectiveness, with a significant focus on its efficacy, nuances and importance in the training and development sphere.


What Is Training Effectiveness?

Training effectiveness signifies how helpful a particular training is in facilitating learning and learning transfer. Simply put, training effectiveness measures the extent to which employee performance improves by training. There are several ways to measure training effectiveness. To measure training effectiveness, start by identifying the 3Ws (why, who, and what of training), followed by the training given. Structuring a training program should begin from the first step, i.e., identifying: Why to train, who to train, and what to train on.

Why Train?

Everyone is not perfect. Most employees have some weak points or dark areas in their work skills, for which they need to be trained. The pre-training assessments could inform about the need for training, for they reflect deficiencies and competencies which need to be worked upon.

Who to Train?

Not all employees need to be trained. Neither do all employees need the same level of training and on the same skill sets. By conducting assessments before the commencement of training can provide a well-rounded perspective on employees who need training.

What to Train On?

A person with the bare minimum technical knowledge and skills cannot suffice an organization’s needs. Hence, a training program should be strictly focused on the skills and competencies organizations want in their workforce and the skills they look for in their employees concerning the future of work.


What is the need to measure training effectiveness?

There are reasons aplenty, but these are the top three reasons why companies should measure the effectiveness of training:


1. To understand how training works for employees


The most critical reason to evaluate training effectiveness is to understand if the training improves employees’ performance and capabilities. Besides, it provides them with clarity regarding what they have accomplished and the steps they need to follow to reach the next level in their careers. In the learning and development (L&D) sphere, feedback and motivation are of utmost essence. Encouragement provides a sense of comfort to employees, reinforcing their commitment to training to do better than earlier. Without understanding the effectiveness of training programs, employees might find it hard to see purpose in their training.


2. To determine the ROI of training and impact on organizational performance


All training programs aim to maximize business performance and return on investment (ROI). Therefore, companies that ardently invest in training initiatives are better positioned than their counterparts, provided that the training is highly relevant to its target audience and is thoroughly monitored and measured.


3. To identify and rectify training loopholes


Investing time and valuable resources into training programs alone will not do it; it is equally important to assess whether training initiatives are effective or not. Hence, each training program should be critically linked to organizational goals. That is why defining training objectives, in the beginning, is critical. If failing to do so, the results could be meaningless because they are not well-directed.


4. To determine the impact of training


It’s crucial to assess the impact of training. Is the training producing desired results? How to determine if the training program is just a “mere deviation from work processes” or significantly influences the training outcome. By employing analytical tools and assessing exactly how well the program is doing, you can promulgate objectives about training effectiveness within the organization. Most importantly, it seems significantly easy to formulate learning goals when you have an evaluation system in place.

Assessment of training effectiveness can help determine if a training program is effective and implemented across the board. Contrarily, if the training does not translate to desirable outcomes, assessments help determine why and where this misalignment happened so that adjustments can be made accordingly.


How Do You Measure the Effectiveness of Training?

Training effectiveness evaluation does not compulsorily require organizations, large or small, to invest significant sums and time. Instead, excellent results can be achieved with careful planning and forethought. Both business goals and training goals should be aligned to obtain the desired results. For example, an inbound call center targets efficiently answering sixteen percent more customer queries than the previous year. Then the aligned training objectives include each representative enrolling in an online course on using advanced call-center software.

However, understanding training evaluation metrics is the most crucial component of measuring training effectiveness. It allows organizations to implement practical training time and again. Well-conceptualized training goes a long way in making teams more efficient and satisfying the stakeholders. On the other hand, training conducted without considering evaluation metrics can never yield desired results, wasting organizations’ time and resources.

Training evaluation metrics are measurable, specified criteria used in assessing the effectiveness of a training and development program. Listed below are examples of some standard training success metrics:

  • How many participants completed the training?
  • What is the success/failure rate of assessments undertaken?
  • Is there any significant behavioral change observed due to the intervention?
  • What is the proper ROI (Return on investment) to consider?

Before imparting the training, every organization should focus on its training effectiveness metrics to understand what is working. Now, let us discuss some surefire ways to measure the success of training programs, whether in-person or online, in an organization:


ways to measure the success of training programs

1. Tracking the right key performance indicators (KPI) in training

Organizations should focus on KPIs that provide clarity regarding employees’ performance projections and progress. Given below are some KPIs that businesses usually recognize:

  • Skills and knowledge retention
  • Employee time to proficiency
  • Employee engagement
  • Transfer of training
  • Net promoter score
  • Impact of training on organizational performance

Before finalizing a training program for employees, it is crucial to identify the KPIs based on metrics critical to business success. Undoubtedly, KPIs help measure training effectiveness once the training is complete.

2. Conducting employee training assessments

Employee training assessments provide an excellent way for learning and development (L&D) professionals to assess trainee’s learning retention and progress from beginning to end. Listed below are the steps to administering a training assessment:


Prior training assessment:

An assessment administered before training provides a baseline awareness of employees’ existing skills before commencement of the training. Such assessments can provide a base to evaluate an employee’s performance before and after the training.


Mid-training evaluation: 

Since mid-course assessments are not mandatory, they can come in handy. By gauging employees while training, it is easy to understand whether the exercise is helping employees or requiring some amendments.


Post-training assessment: 

Employee assessment at the end of training is the premise on which this entire activity is based. By comparing this test score against the pre-training test score, one can quickly determine whether there is an improvement or not. Moreover, such evaluations can efficiently address a progression or retrogression in the trainee’s performance, which eventually helps in making some training amendments.

3. Observing the change

Empowering employees to drive performance becomes seamless with the right training program. It opens up new avenues for understanding:

  • Whether employees are applying learned skills in real-time?
  • If they are performing better than earlier
  • If there is a noticeable difference in their behaviors
  • Whether they exude more confidence than earlier?

The usefulness of training imparted to employees is realized if they begin implementing those newly acquired skills or knowledge in their everyday workflow.

4. Keeping a tab on employee engagement

Are employees committed to the training from the beginning to the end? Have they shown interest in additional courses not directly linked to the training? It’s essential to understand whether the training initiative seems engaging to employees. The success of a training initiative is directly related to the richness of content and the value it provides to the learners.

5. Seeking feedback on training

The learners’ response regarding their learning experience reveals a lot about their experience. Feedback is a valuable training evaluation metric worth tracking because it states what’s effective and what’s not. It is ideal to seek feedback throughout the program to get a first-hand account of employees’ training experience. Providing a medium for learners to express their training experience will enable L&D managers to glean valuable insights that will help them deliver even better training experiences in the future.


The Kirk Patrick Model (The 4 Levels of Training Evaluation)

Fortunately, some proven methodologies for measuring training effectiveness already exist. One can also successfully measure training effectiveness using the Kirk-Patrick Model. The Kirkpatrick Model is a globally recognized framework to streamline training and learning initiatives for organizations. It evaluates the training effectiveness for formal and informal training modes against four types of evaluation criteria: reaction, learning, behavior, and results.


the Kirk-Patrick Model

The 4 Levels of Training Evaluation:

  • Reaction: This level measures how learners have responded to the training, including the critical aspects of the activity – utilizing reviews, questionnaires, or talking to participants to get honest feedback on the training experience.
  • Learning: You can measure what the trainees have learned and how much knowledge they have gained at this level.
  • Behavior This level indicates how trainees apply the information and how it has impacted their performance and attitude.
  • Results The last level comes down to the ‘why’ part of the training. It captures the difference in the participant’s behavior before and after the program. It includes outcomes that the organization has determined favorable for both business and employees.

Training is all about improving performance, whether for an individual or group, thus influencing an organization’s overall performance. For more in-depth coverage on the Kirkpatrick Model, you might want to read this blog: The Kirkpatrick Model of Training Evaluation: A Beginner’s Guide


Best approaches to measure training effectiveness

Here we list down some best practices when measuring test effectiveness to ensure your efforts are directed in the right direction:

  • Don’t choose too many KPIs. Be judicious when selecting your KPIs. More KPIs means you will have more measures to look after and more data to work with. Therefore, you must have an adequate number of KPIs.
  • Define your KPIs before developing any training program. Knowing which metrics are the most critical and befitting will help you identify the most appropriate method for measuring effectiveness. (Hint: You can seek the opinions of stakeholders to identify the most relevant KPIs).
  • Schedule your data collection activities when designing the training process. For example, you should decide the right time to measure effectiveness and how to do that and feed all that into your training timeframe to organize the process and meet stakeholders’ expectations.
  • Create a personalized evaluation framework. For example, suppose you are implementing the Kirkpatrick model to ascertain the efficacy of your training initiative. Then, it might not be feasible for you to measure each level of the model, which can become challenging, costly, and overwhelming. However, by analyzing your training needs and choosing suitable models or levels that serve your purpose, you will make a reasonable decision on measuring training effectiveness.
  • Implement your findings into practice. After all, what good will it do to measure training effectiveness without acting on your findings and putting them into practice? That is why you should make significant changes quickly, introduce improvements where needed, and take prompt measures when required.


How Mercer| Mettl Can Help?

Mercer| Mettl brings you efficient and precise tools for evaluating training effectiveness. These simple, reliable assessments will help you understand the training lifecycle to assess training effectiveness. When decoding the training life cycle, four steps are involved: identifying training needs, administering pre-training assessments, training, and post-training assessments. In addition, our helpful tools will enable you to measure the ROI of your training program. These tools have been divided into Mercer | Mettl’s Pre- and Post-Assessment Framework.


Pre and post training


Pre- Training Assessment

Mercer|Mettl’s pre-training assessments are customized for the specific competency framework for the training. These assessments, administered before training, measure the current proficiency level in the desired competencies. They help in creating the right training program for employees.


Post-Training Assessment

Mercer|Mettl’s post-training assessment framework is designed based on the Kirk Patrick 4 level training evaluation model, the worldwide standard for evaluating training effectiveness. It helps in assessing the effectiveness of the L&D program for successfully filling skill gaps in each employee to improve their performance.

Based on the Kirk Patrick Model, Mercer| Mettl’s training effectiveness assessment solutions measure perceived learning and demonstrated understanding. They take into account:

  • Reaction: Candidates’ idea of whether the training program has helped them or not
  • Learning: how much the candidate has assimilated
  • Behavior: how much the candidate can retain even after the training has ended and
  • Result: captures the observable difference in participant’s behaviors and attitudes before and after the program

You can also sign up for a free demo here and have one of our experts help you find the best solution.



Understand the roadblock in the training program you offer to your employees. When training lines up with the business and a characterized feedback system for every employee, it helps you meet your business objectives with a more logical approach. Employees at all levels comprehend expectations, operationalize vision and values, and perceive what is essential to succeed.


Mettl advantage



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Originally published December 24 2018, Updated December 24 2021

Abhilash Malguri

Written by

Abhilash works with the Content Marketing team of Mercer|Mettl. He has been contributing his bit to the world of online business for some years now. Abhilash is experienced in content marketing, along with SEO. He’s fond of writing useful posts, helping people, traveling, and savoring delicacies.

Training Effectiveness

Importance and Effectiveness of training

Training effectiveness determines how a training program instigates change in an employee's skills, knowledge, and behavior; for example, it measures the degree to which a particular training program may enable a team to increase its efficiency or achieve a specific business objective.

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