Determining Training Effectiveness

Measuring the effectiveness of training programs is a highly important aspect for organizations. However, not many organizations have properly mastered the technique of measuring training effectiveness. This research proposal outlines a plan to conduct research upon the importance of training effectiveness and the methods used in order to do so in organizations. Making use of available literature, a case study related to the topic, and with the aid of content analysis, the study aims to find the most appropriate methods of determining training effectiveness.
The research proposal contains information regarding authors such as Kirkpatrick, Erikson, and others who have contributed to the literature on the topic and provides information on the methodology, limitations, and timescale of the study.

1. Introduction
Background to the Study:
Human resource management is an essential component of managing an organization as employees are one of the organization’s most valuable assets. Hence, it is highly important for organizations to provide their employees with training and attempt to polish and enhance their employees’ skills. While there are several methods used to train employees, it is also highly essential to determine the level of effectiveness of the training (Rae, 1985).
The main aim of this dissertation will be to explore the various ways in which organizations can determine their training effectiveness and determine which methods are most suitable for their organization. This is a highly important topic from a business perspective as this dissertation will provide organizations with information regarding how to determine and measure the effectiveness of their training programs and change the manner in which they provide training if needed. This topic is also highly relevant from an academic perspective as business students are often given ample information regarding training procedures, but there is not a vast amount of research concerning the determination of the effectiveness of training.
Organization under Study:
As rigorous training procedures and the need for determining training effectiveness usually exists within large organizations, the study will base its research upon the study of one or more organizations, according to where access can be gained.
Problem Statement:
While many organizations employ rigorous training procedures to enhance the skills of their employees, many organizations are not completely familiar with the processes involved in measuring training effectiveness and choosing appropriate training methods.
Proposal Structure:
The proposal will commence with a brief literature review summarizing the main authors providing research upon the mentioned topic and deriving the main and subsidiary research questions relevant to this study. The proposed methodology of the research will be summarized including methods of data collection and data analysis. The accessibility to information and the limitations of the study will be summarized subsequently and the proposal will end with a timescale for the completion of the dissertation.
2. Literature Review
Literature Review:
As mentioned by Kirkpatrick (Newstorm, 1995) , it is highly essential for organizations to be able to measure the effectiveness of a training program as without doing so may result in a huge loss of time, money, and effort. Hence, one of the main theories to measuring training effectiveness was devised by Kirkpatrick in the form of a four-level evaluation model. The four levels of evaluation mentioned include reaction, learning, behavior, and results.
While Kirkpatrick is also a high authority on the subject, there are other authors who also provide vital information for this study including Kolb, Erikson, Bloom, and Rae. Leslie Rae has provided a vast amount of information regarding measuring the effectiveness of training in the workplace and has laid a high amount of emphasis upon procedures of self-assessment, follow-up tools, and evaluation techniques (Rae, 1985) Similarly, Bloom has also devised a theory known as Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains and discusses the various principles in training design and thus increasing the effectiveness of training (Reeves, 1990).
However, while it is important to devise effective training programs and measure the effectiveness of these programs, it is also important to understand how to provide this training (Walsh, 2011). Thus, Erik Erikson’s PsychoSocial Lifestages Theory explains the various training and development needs for individuals at different stages in their life (Zwik, 2012) and in order for organizations to effectively design training programs, it is essential to consider the points made in this theory (Munley, 1977). Likewise, another important aspect of measuring training effectiveness is choosing the most appropriate evaluation method as emphasized in the Learning Styles Theory included in Kolb’s model (Sugarman, 1985).
These main theories and others such as Maslow’s hierarchy of individual needs (Huitt, 2007) and Herzberg’s two factor theory (Gardener, 2011) will be included in the discussion concerning the measurement of training effectiveness in the dissertation and accordingly give rise to the following research questions.
Research Questions
What is the importance of evaluating training effectiveness and why is it needed in organizations
What methods can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of training in organizations
How can organizations choose evaluation methods relevant to the type of training they offer
3. Methodology
Data Collection:
The data collected for this study will be qualitative and quantitative in nature and this study will make use of both primary and secondary data for the purpose of research. Secondary data will be collected through the means of journals, online sources, books, company prospectuses, and other academic sources. This study will also use the aid of primary material in the form of questionnaires and interviews in order to gain fresh insight into the topic.
As this study is an exploratory study requiring an in-depth analysis of the mentioned topic, the study will aim to incorporate and examine as much relevant literature as possible and also use the aid of primary research in order to compare the findings of the literature review with fresh data retrieved through questionnaires and interviews. The proposed methods are most appropriate because a substantial amount of literature is available on the topic and the use of questionnaires and interviews are most convenient for gathering primary data.
Data Analysis:
The data collected will be analyzed through the means of classic content analysis and through the evaluation and interpretations of the researcher regarding the data in question. The researcher will compare and contrast the data available and find relevance in the material available used for the purpose of research in order to derive conclusions regarding the data (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005).
The closed-ended data in the questionnaire will be analyzed through the means of statistical measures to numerate the most popular responses. Open-ended questions in the questionnaire will be analyzed through classic content analysis.
Access to data is available through online sources, libraries, and the researcher’s own collection of literature regarding the mentioned topic. Access to companies for the sake of primary research will be gained through permission and scheduling a time for the interview and dispersement of questionnaire.
Research Limitations:
The limitations of this research include that it may be difficult to gain access to company employees for the sake of primary research and honest responses in questionnaires cannot be guaranteed. Moreover, there are often problems in correctly evaluating qualitative data and arriving at valid and reliable conclusions (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005).

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Gardner, G. 2011. “Is there a Valid Test to Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory?”. Journal of Occupational Psychology. Vol. 50:3 pp 197-204
Hsieh, HF. & Shannon, SE. 2005. “Three Approaches to Qualitative ContentAnalysis”. Quality Health Records. Vol. 15:9 pp. 1277-1288
Huitt, W. 2007. “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”. Educational Psychology Interactive. [online] Accessed on: 4th February, 2013 Available at:
Munley, PH. 1977. “Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development and Career Development”. Journal of Vocational Behavior. Vol. 10:3 pp.261-269
Newstorm, JW. 1995. “Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels by Donald L. Kirkpatrick (1994)” Human Resource Development Quarterly. Vol. 6:3 pp.317-320
Rae, L. 1985. How to Measure Training Effectiveness. Aldershot: England
Reeves, MF. 1990. “An Application of Bloom’s Taxonomy to the Teaching of Business Ethics”. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 9:7 pp.609-616
Sugarman, L. 1985. “Kolb’s Model of Experiental Learning: Touchstone for Trainers, Students, Counsellors, and Clients.” Journal of Counselling and Development. Vol. 64:4 pp. 264-268
Walsh, BM. 2011. “Workplace Incivility: A Model of Training Effectiveness” Thesis: University of Connecticut
Zwik, T. 2012. “Training effectiveness- differences between older and younger employees”. Working and ageing. Vol. 4


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