Conducting a training evaluation completes the learning cycle that would have started with first identifying gaps in employee skills and knowledge, using a training needs analysis. The tangible symbol of this completion is the training evaluation report.

The training evaluation report is used to communicate information to stakeholders about the training that was provided, how it was received, its possible/potential impact, together with any additional observations and recommendations. This information forms part of the organisational training feedback loop and serves as an important guide to future training needs analysis, training events and training evaluations.

Data for the Training Evaluation Report

Typically the majority of the information that comprises the training evaluation report comes from the training delegates however their supervisors/managers and perhaps the training instructor may provide input as well.

This information will usually be collected from completed training evaluation forms (paper or electronic) which are collated and analysed by the training administrator using training evaluation software or else survey software or Microsoft Excel.

Whatever the method of data collection, the training evaluation report, whether it’s for a single workshop or a suite of linked courses, will need to represent the views of the various stakeholders while presenting conclusions that are both meaningful and actionable.

The following is a checklist of points to guide this approach:

  • Does the report follow a standard format? - The stakeholders should be provided with reports in a consistent format that allows them to easily absorb key information and make comparisons with earlier reports if they need to.
  • Are findings of the training needs analysis referenced? - The training evaluation report should tie back to the organisational objectives which led to the training needs analysis and as a result the training event.
  • Have there been any material changes to the organisations objectives since training began? - This may need to be highlighted in the body of the report
  • Is there anything special about the training event? - For example, why is this particular training event being evaluated – compared to others that are not evaluated? Is the nature of the training sensitive such that the results of the evaluation are likely to be highly politicised? These should be taken into account in detailing the findings.
  • Are conclusions logical and sufficiently explained? - It is important to demonstrate how the reports' conclusions were reached to maintain credibility. Supporting data should be made available by way of appendices where required.
  • Are recommendations included? - There should be at least one recommendation that can be applied to future training courses or training needs analysis.
  • Does the report provide sufficient content to be useful? - Different reports lengths will be suitable for different stakeholders so this can be addressed by providing perhaps the executive summary and recommendations and holding back the extended report to be supplied on request.
writing a training evaluation report

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Sample Format of the Training Evaluation Report

The following is a list of suggested items to be included in a training evaluation report together with their content descriptions. These items can be adapted to create reports to suit any particular circumstances.

Title Page

The report title as well and the name, location and date of the training event.
The report author's name.
The report date.

Contents Page

Report section page numbers and those of any appendices.

Executive Summary

A brief overview of the report with an emphasis on the most important points. This may well be the section that gets read the most.

Introduction

Background information on the training program being evaluated, the objectives of the report and the questions it seeks to answer.

Methodology

Information on the details on how the data was collected and any issues identified. This will enable readers to interpret the report in the right context.

Main Body of the Report

This will be broken out into sections with headings discussing the particulars of each of the key findings with references to the collected data.

Balance must be struck between being concise and presenting sufficient information to explain and justify the points being made.

Conclusions

A summary of what the key findings mean and a discussion their implications.

Recommendations

Details how best to use the knowledge gained from the training evaluation. The recommendations should be presented in order of priority (essential actions, desirable actions, nice-to-have options).

This should address:

  • How future training can be improved
  • How the training evaluation process can be improved
  • If your proposals involve expenditure, supply a cost-benefit analysis to show what they would cost and what benefits can be expected
  • Any consequences or risks inherent in adopting or not adopting recommendations

Appendices

This will include details of information referred to in other parts of the report. This may include but is not restricted to a feedback analysis, a benchmark analysis and a list of training delegates.

In Summary

A carefully-considered, well written training evaluation report will not only prove the value for money of a training programme and ensure enthusiasm for the future, but also enhance the professional reputation of the training function itself.

Marblewire Software is a UK software company based on London. We make Trellis Online and Trellis Classic - training evaluation software designed to make it easy for you to manage your training evaluation process. From evaluation form design and distribution, to feedback collection, analysis and reporting. Whether Online, by e-mail or just paper forms.