How do you measure learning?
How many times do you actually read the instructions and ensure that you understand them before you go ahead and do something?
Part of my work involves marking work for students so that they are assessed against a given criteria decided upon by awarding bodies such as Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) or Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD). If the student meets the required standard they then get a recognised qualification. This is often valued by many of the people I have the pleasure to work with and the reason they are attending the programme.
However it never ceases to amaze me that people, who appear to be competent and literate, do not read instructions!! If you are asked for 2 examples of something, why only give 1!!! Or you are asked to explain something and you describe it…these are two different activities.
Reading and understanding the instructions or the criteria against which you are being assessed is fundamental to the process of accreditation. It means that people like me, and lets be fair, there are a lot us out here, have a benchmark to which we are measuring a person’s work.
Interestingly if you as a trainer or a manager, or both, have not identified why the person needs to attend a training programme how will you be able to measure the success of that learning event once it has been completed? This is why there is much more emphasis on accredited programmes now because companies can set a level at which they expect people to attain. It is also why a lot of government money is available because it can be measured and therefore the expense can be justified.
So, if you are attending a training programme or planning to run one for your team or individuals within it, ask yourself: “how will I know that the training has been effective?” Ask this question to the people you are thinking of hiring to run that training or put your own measurement criteria together. But remember to be clear about what you are asking people to do and then make sure that they actually understand what is being asked of them.
The assessment criteria needs to be clear, measurable and relevant to the subject and must be accessible to all. Then depending upon how many people will be completing this assessment, how do you ensure consistency in the people who are marking this work? This is especially true in the intangible area of leadership and motivation, so you as a trainer, or as a manager need to set clear expectations of what you are measuring and be able to provide examples for the learners.
So, if the instructions are clear & understandable for the learners it will make marking of such work fairer and more equitable for people like me! It will also mean that the money you are spending on the learning will provide you with a measurable return.
Off to do some assessment now!!
Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth