5 Quick Tips on Giving Learning Feedback

Learning Feedback

5 Quick Tips on Giving Effective Learning Feedback

Feedback is an integral part of any learning process, whether instructor-led or self-paced. With effective learning feedback, you can increase engagement, motivation and growth in your learners. With the plethora of digital tools available today for seamlessly giving feedback, there’s no excuse in doing so. Furthermore, feedback is not difficult to incorporate into eLearning courses either. Most of the content authoring software come with easy tools for feedback. Also, modern digital learning environments increasingly support creative ways of feedback, such as gamification. However, even with all these tools, it’s important to remember what constitutes good learning feedback. Here are 5 quick tips on it.

1. Feedback needs to be continuous, but not interfering

Ideally, every learning activity, whether a video, storyboard or a classroom session, should have feedback. Continuity in giving learning feedback helps to guide the learning process. However, you should give feedback at natural milestones, such as the end of an activity. If you start giving out feedback midway, you have a risk of interfering with the learning flow of the employee.

2. Learning feedback must be about the activity and performance

Naturally, when giving feedback, you should focus on the activity and performance, not the learner as an individual. This is more of a problem in instructor-led sessions, where instructor may fall subject to attribution bias. Understand that everyone can improve through effort, and performance improvement is the thing that matters.

3. Use Effort Praise in your learning feedback

Effort praise vs. intelligence praise is a Growth Mindset concept. By verbally structuring your feedback for effort (e.g. “You worked hard, but it wasn’t quite enough yet. Could you find another way to do this?”) instead of intelligence (e.g. “Perfect. You’re are the best in the group”), you are developing a mindset that embraces challenges and risk and is creative and innovative.

4. Provide reasoning and guidance, not only scoring

When designing learning feedback loops, it’s important to explain the reasoning for a particular type of feedback. Instead of just telling the learner whether they got it right or not, explain why. Why was the answer wrong? Why was the solution to the problem not appropriate? In fact, it’s often good to explain even why the answer was right! From the reasoning, you can also move forward to guiding the learners to try again with a different approach.

5. Embrace making mistakes

Another concept from the realms of developing a growth mindset and learning feedback, embracing mistakes, is important. Mistakes are a natural phenomena and we learn through them. Hence, you shouldn’t punish your learners for making mistakes. Learning activities should be the de facto risk-free platform where they can make those mistakes. Furthermore, you may consider that others in the organisation may learn from someone else’s mistakes too – so share them!

Are you supporting your learners through adequate feedback in classroom sessions as well as eLearning? If you need help getting started, just drop us a note

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Training Evaluation in Digital – Kirkpatrick Model & Learning Analytics

Digital Training Evaluation

Digital Training Evaluation – Using the Kirkpatrick Model and Learning Analytics

Ask an L&D professional about how they measure training effectiveness and learning. The likely answer is that they are using the Kirkpatrick 4-level evaluation model. The model has been a staple in the L&D professionals’ toolbox for a long time. However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find that many organisations are only able to assess levels 1 & 2 of the model. While these levels do constitute valuable information, they help very little in determining the true ROI of learning. Luckily, thanks to technological development, we nowadays have the capability to do digital training evaluation on all 4 levels. And here are some best practices on how to do it.

Level 1: Reaction – Use quick feedback and rating tools to monitor engagement

The first level of Kirkpatrick is very easy to implement across all learning activities. You should use digital tools to collect quick feedback on all activities. That can be in the form of likes, star ratings, scoring or likert scales. Three questions should be enough to cover the ground.

  1. How did you like the training?
  2. How do you consider the value-add of the training?
  3. Was the training relevant to your job?

Generally, scale or ratings based feedback is the best for level 1. Verbal feedback requires too much to effectively analyse.

Level 2: Learning – Use digital training evaluation to get multiple data points

For level 2, it all start with the learning objectives. Learning objectives should be very specific, and tied to specific business outcomes (we’ll explain why in level 4). Once you have defined them, it’s relatively easy to build assessment around it. Naturally, we are measuring the increase in knowledge rather than just the knowledge. Therefore, it is vital to record at least 2 data points throughout the learning journey. A handy way to go about this is to design pre-learning and post-learning assessment. The former captures the knowledge and skill level of the employee before starting the training. Comparing that with the latter, we can comfortably identify the increase in knowledge. You can easily do this kind of assessment with interactive quizzes and short tests.

“If you’re measuring only once, it’s almost as good as not measuring at all”

Level 3: Behaviour – Confirm behavioural change through data and analytics

Finally, the level 3 of measuring behaviour is delving into somewhat uncharted territory. There are a couple of different angles for digital training evaluation here.

First, you could engage the learners in self-assessment. For the often highly biased self-assessment, two questions should be enough. If no behavioural change is reported, another question captures the reason behind it, and L&D can intervene accordingly.

  1. Have you applied the skills learnt? (linking to specific learning, can be a yes/no question)
  2. If not, why not?

Secondly, since self-assessment is often highly biased, it’s not necessary meaningful to collect more data directly from the learner itself. However, to really get factual insight into level 3, you should be using data and analytics. On the business level, we record a lot of data on a daily basis. Just think about all the information that is collected or fed into the systems we use daily. Thus, you should be using the data from these systems with the self-assessment to get a confirmed insight into the reported behavioural change. For instance, a sales person could see an increase in calls made post training. A marketing person could see an increase in the amount of social media posts they put out. The organisation has all the necessary data already – it’s just a matter of tapping into it.

Level 4: Results – Combining Learning Analytics and Business Analytics

Finally, the level 4 evaluation is the pot of gold for L&D professionals. This is where you link the learning to business performance and demonstrate the ROI through business impact. With modern ways of digital training evaluation you can eliminate the guess work and deliver facts:

To be noted, it is highly important to understand that the evaluation steps are not standalone. Level 4 is linked to levels 2 and 3. If there was no increase in knowledge or behavioural change did not happen, there’s no business impact. You might see a positive change in results, but you should not mistake that as the product of learning if the previous levels have not checked out. But once levels 2 and 3 have come out positive, you can look into the bigger picture.

Firstly, you should look back at the learning objectives, especially the business outcomes they were tied to. If your aim with the sales training was to increase the number of calls made, it’s important to look at what happened in that specific metric. If you see a change, then you can look at the business outcomes. How much additional revenue would those extra sales calls produced? The results can also be changes in production, costs, customer satisfaction, employee engagement etc. In any business, you should be able to assign a dollar value on most if not all of these metrics. Once you have the dollar value, it’s simple math to figure out the ROI.

All in all, there’s really no excuse for not dealing with levels 3 and 4 of Kirkpatrick. You can manage digital training evaluation and learning analytics even with limited budget. It’s just a matter of embracing data and the benefits of data driven decision making.

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