Test Your Training Program Before and After Rolling Out: What, Why & How

A problem many L&D Managers face is that after putting so much work into planning and creating the training materials, they realize the content is not related to what the employees need. If you have been stuck in the same situation, this article about course pre- and post-testing are written precisely for you. Don’t worry if you have never thought about these because better late than never.

Let’s take a small step to understand what to do and how you should test your content to upgrade your course to a whole new level.

What is course testing?

Course testing evaluates your content to determine whether the course objectives are appropriate for your employees. You should test your course material and content twice: pre-course and post-course.

  • Pre-tests are a type of assessment that is not evaluated and is used to review prior topic knowledge. A test is given to training participants before the session rollout. The pre-test is a crucial phase since it allows you to assess whether the resources, information, activities or course objectives are appropriate and optimized for learners.
  • Post-testing is to measure the success of the training and even collect participant feedback after the lesson to modify the material for the following session. Participants typically take examinations after each training, revealing the percentage of new knowledge acquired. 

Why should you conduct course testing?

Through course testing, you may determine whether the information you planned relates to employees, addresses their concerns, and gives them enough knowledge to improve their performance. You shouldn’t skip these steps to prevent ineffective training for participants and receive feedback on the materials you supplied.

  • Pretesting makes materials more effective by ensuring the design is appropriate for the target audience. It enables a trainer to create content that better satisfies the learning objectives. Overall, it can save time, money, and energy because the finished product will be useful. 
  • Post-testing is a crucial component of compliance training since it helps employees successfully apply their new skills to their jobs. With the data gathered, L&D Managers have insights into how employees perceive the content if they have met the course objectives and adjust the following lessons accordingly.

What to test?

Here are 4 essential elements that should be considered to assess:

  • Training objectives and learning outcomes: They are considered when developing the training materials for the course. It is to ensure they align with an employee’s position competency and, to a large extent, with the organizational business goals and mission.
  • Content and delivery methods: There are many ways to deliver new information to employees. Therefore, be careful of making your employee less engaged when providing irrelevant content. Combining appropriate methods of delivery based on the employee test result will help create a practical training course.
  • Training materials: Learners must have the chance to put the concepts they have learned in class into practice during the learning activities. To be successful, the instructor should incorporate different methods.
  • Evaluation of training effectiveness: You can ask students to complete post-training assessments and show their new knowledge and abilities. Also, the training effectiveness can be seen through job observation. Employees can provide comments by using the course assessment forms.

How to conduct pre-testing

You ought to also take into account working with a research company to carry out the pretesting. Don’t skip the preliminary testing stage. Even if you lack the time or money to perform a large-scale study, you can still collect data to assess the quality of the content preparation by interviewing or polling small groups of people.

TIPS: Create one or more test items for each learning target after having the course objectives. At this stage, the most common mistake is your test question fails to evaluate the learning objectives. Thus, be careful!

When creating the test, you should consider and address the following questions: 

  1. Who are my participants? What information do I need to teach them? 
  2. How will my employees be trained? What training resources will I use? 
  3. What does my content look like? 
  4. Does my training program effectively meet my learning objectives? Is my data accurate and precise? 

How to conduct post-testing

Knowledge and task- or skill-based tests are typically the most effective tools in this step. True/false questions, multiple-choice questions, multiple-response questions, fill-in-the-blank questions, short answer questions, and essay questions are all knowledge exam components you should consider including in the tests. A task-based test evaluates a worker’s aptitude for carrying out a specific occupational task. You should develop a form of rating scale or checklist that mentors can use to document their evaluations.

But when should I apply the Knowledge-based test, and when should I use the other? The answer depends on your learning purpose. Generally speaking, you can use a knowledge test to evaluate employees’ capacity to meet a learning objective calling for a performance that exhibits knowledge. For instance, you want your staff to reiterate facts. You can use a knowledge-based strategy and ask them to state, recall, list, etc. 

And you can utilize a task-based test to see if they possess a specific ability or can complete a particular activity. A task-based approach should evaluate the ability to carry out a technique.

To ensure that your tests are effective and in line with your aims, please consider the following three questions: 

  1. What kind of test items—a knowledge-based or a task-based test—do you need to develop for each learning objective? 
  2. How many total test items should you create? 
  3. What would be a passing mark?

When should you launch course testing?

Pre-testing can be finished within two weeks or two months before starting the courses, depending on the testing approach. Please remember that you should decide on class activities and course objectives before creating the test.

Meanwhile, you can launch post-testing right after the courses finish.

Wrapping up 

After reading this article, we hope you understand and know the basic steps to create good tests for your employees. Considering and applying the methods correctly will positively affect you and your employees.

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