Best Practices for Building Training Evaluations in Cornerstone Learning

business woman working on laptop
business woman working on laptop

Kiki Pierce

Kiki Pierce is a Manager at Educe leading Cornerstone CSX (formerly Cornerstone OnDemand) Learning, Performance, Succession, and Compensation implementations.…

Organizations frequently make significant investments to create or procure impressive training content. But creating and providing top quality content to your employees and customers is not enough.

Whether it is through online courses, videos, or instructor-led-training, the true value of content is determined by the perception of the learner and the behavior change resulting from the training. To help bridge the gap between providing training and gaining a deeper understanding of its effectiveness, Cornerstone Learning offers evaluations based on the Kirkpatrick Model.

What is the Kirkpatrick Model?

The Kirkpatrick Model is a method of evaluation developed to streamline how training can be assessed based on desired results. The model is used worldwide and has evolved into the gold standard for training evaluations. The Kirkpatrick Model contains four levels and Cornerstone Learning offers the first three levels in its evaluation options for learners.

  • Level One: Reaction
    This type of evaluation is used to measure employees’ reaction to any type of training (materials, videos, online courses, instructor led training etc.).  The evaluations typically gauge reaction to the training relevance, but also can measure the content itself or value of the training materials provided. Some examples of questions asked may include:

    • How would you rate the instructor?
    • Was the training engaging?
    • How would you rate the relevancy of the course to your job?
    • What would you change or improve for future training?
  • Level Two: Learning
    This level of evaluation is used to gauge the learning of each participant based on whether learners acquire the intended knowledge and skills from the training. The level two evaluation doesn’t provide the subjective feedback gathered through level one questions, but instead measures specific outcomes. Ideally you would conduct the level two evaluation both before and after the training to measure progress and effectiveness of the training.
  • Level Three: Behavior
    The third level of evaluation is used to measure whether learners were truly affected by the learning and if they’re applying what they learned to their jobs. Level Three evaluations are conducted similarly to an observation checklist where this evaluation is assigned to a third party (i.e., manager) to assess the individual’s behavior resulting from the training content.
  • Level Four: Results
    This fourth level of the model measures the overall success of the training.   This level measures targeted outcomes such as expedited timelines, improved product efficiency, increased sales, reduced expenses, or retention rate. Because level four outcomes are measured outside of an LMS system and beyond a learner driven evaluation, Cornerstone Learning customers can use levels one through three within the LMS itself and then expand on measuring success beyond the LMS by leveraging level four externally, as needed.

What are Best Practices for Building Evaluations in Cornerstone Learning?

When designing your training and associated evaluations it is important to keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Budget time upfront in your training program deployment to prepare for evaluation creation and strategy in tandem with the training itself. Evaluations provide insight into the effectiveness of your investment in training, and it is key to assess early and often to recalibrate, if needed.
  • Consider identifying a change champion team of key stakeholders to provide proactive feedback on the user experience, if your organization is new to using evaluations. These individuals can help to ensure evaluations are approachable and understandable, and their early completions can help you assess if initial responses on any given evaluation are providing the desired information.
  • Start with level one evaluations to help support the idea for gathering feedback on training and transition to more complex evaluations as your training landscape matures. Level one evaluations are most commonly used and often the easiest to implement.
  • Avoid the urge to over complicate your evaluation questions. Keep questions and prompts clear and concise. You do not want to deter learners from giving their honest, candid feedback or gather inaccurate training effectiveness results due to poorly crafted questions. A simple, straight-forward approach will also minimize future administrative upkeep when it comes time to edit or release a new evaluation.
  • Keep the end goal in mind when designing any level of evaluation. What information are you trying to gather to determine if your training is effective? Identifying a training’s impact will help ensure you are meeting the needs of your learners. When desired outcomes are identified proactively, training teams can then create more effective programs with measurable outcomes.

Once you have identified your ideal outcomes for a training program, you can then leverage Cornerstone Learning to measure how well you are meeting your goals. Evaluations in your Cornerstone Learning system are a valuable tool requiring an initial investment of time to build and strategize deployment. However, they will provide you with powerful information to create and tailor education tools to best meet your employees’ needs, organizational goals, and industry demands.

Related Content