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Readers Write: What is Product Training Really Worth?

February 25, 2013 Readers Write 3 Comments

What is Product Training Really Worth?
By Lorre Wisham

“Every line is the perfect length if you don’t measure it.” Marty Rubin

Too often, healthcare information technology (HIT) vendors treat training as a last-minute “check the box” obligation to be met as quickly as possible with the smallest investment possible. It shows. Low KLAS scores and slow or partial product adoption are just two results of this approach.

What’s far worse, though, is the lost opportunity for vendors to differentiate themselves from competitors by showing the direct and measurable results that effective training can bring to their customers.

Smart vendors use proven evaluation methods to demonstrate these benefits:

  • Reduced time to competency
  • Increased consistency
  • Greater and more meaningful product use
  • Fewer help calls
  • Better support for future employees

What kind of evaluation methods work? I recommend Kirkpatrick’s four-level evaluation model.

Level One

Assess participant reaction to the course.

Rather than wait for KLAS scores, use surveys to find out immediately what end users think about the training, and then modify it as needed to improve results. Capture this data over time to prove to customers that your training is well received.

Level Two

Assess what participants learned.

Build pre- and post-tests into your courses so you can demonstrate increased knowledge and skills. Track scores, run reports, and ask customers whether their other vendors can offer the same.

Level Three

Determine whether participants are able to apply their learning on the job.

Understand what comprehensive product adoption looks like for your customers and assess how your training helps deliver it. For instance, examine the rates of product use or the number of technical support calls among employees who complete training and those who do not.

Level Four

Gather data from customer executives or management to determine the impact the training has had on their organization. Using surveys over time, you can begin to answer key questions like these:

  • Has the availability of an online training solution helped the organization manage employee turnover?
  • Did training help the organization meet Meaningful Use criteria?
  • Did the time available for patient care increase along with HIT proficiency?

As learning professionals, we know organizations that evaluate their training outperform those that don’t. Vendors who work with customers to evaluate training success set themselves apart from those who don’t. After all, training is just an activity if you don’t bother measuring its impact.

By taking the steps described here, you can demonstrate added value to your customers. You can show that you not only know how adults learn, but how they do so within the challenging context of a healthcare environment. Because you measure results, you can show something more — your unique ability to help healthcare professionals translate learning into actions that benefit hospitals, providers, and patients.

Lorre Wisham is president and CEO of
Health Technology Training Solutions of Tucson, AZ.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. The “test” at the end of our Epic training consisted of the trainer reading each question and all of us agreeing on what the answer should be. I believe we all passed. Which level was that?

  2. JustPlain Tired – I think I am stating the obvious by saying what you describe isn’t evaluation at all. It is a way of reinforcing right answers at the end of the session, but it is not a real test, and it is not training evaluation in any way. I think it is pretty clear you know this but the real question is, are you getting the results you wanted or expected from the training?

  3. The most important thing to remember is to start with the end in mind. When deciding on the scope of the training, think of what you want participants to do better or differently afterwards. From there, you will be able to identify the Business Outcomes.

    I mentioned Business Outcomes instead of Learning Objectives, because the intent is to train people so that it indeed affects a behavior change while on the job. It is not enough to just start with the end in mind and identify the business outcomes. Leadership must reinforce the concepts learned to gain maximum benefit.

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