For those who are responsible for developing educational sessions or other more involved learning programs for meeting professionals, you should be familiar with Instructional System Design (ISD) and the ADDIE process. The professionals who are most familiar with these are called Instructional Designers and can be invaluable resources in helping you deliver learning that meets your meeting and business objectives.
Instructional System Design is simply a process for developing educational content. It ensures your educational content aligns with the desired outcomes in addition to saving development time and money.
The ADDIE Model is perhaps the most popular approach to instructional design. It has five phases: Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. Each phase is characterized by a set of activities and deliverables that provides input for the following phase. Outlined below are some activities and deliverables which meeting professionals can adopt.
Phase I: Analyze
- Clarify organizational and educational program objectives
- Agree on the scope of the educational program
- Determine strategies for transferring learned skills to the workplace
- Determine the target participants, program prerequisite requirements, participant characteristics and special needs
- Determine extent of participant knowledge/skill assessment required
- Determine the tasks currently performed by target participants and level of performance required following the program
- Estimate program design, development, implementation and evaluation costs, effort required and schedule
Deliverable: Training Needs Analysis.
Phase II: Design
- Translate the educational program objectives into learning objectives
- Determine program structure and sequence
- Determine program duration and pace
- Decide program format and mode of delivery
- Specify type of participant assessment
- Determine program evaluation methodology, data collection methods, timing and reporting formats
- Articulate transfer of learning methods and workplace support
Deliverable: High-level design document.
Phase III: Develop
- Develop session plans, trainer guides, learner guides and trainer and participant resources
- Develop trainer and on-the-job aids
- Develop coaching/mentoring guides and resources.
- Develop technology infrastructure and software
- Develop participant assessments
- Develop project and program evaluation instruments
- Conduct pilot program to test that program meets client requirements
Deliverables: Session plan, trainer guide, learner guide and resources, assessment and evaluation instruments if necessary.
Phase IV: Implement
- Produce program materials and aids
- Install technology infrastructure and services
- Set up administrative databases and systems
- Install on-the-job aids
- Prepare coaches/mentors
- Book venue, accommodation and travel arrangements
- Set up venue and accommodation
- Schedule participants
- Conduct training sessions
- Implement training transfer strategies
- Conduct participant assessments
- Collect participant feedback
Deliverables: Completed participant assessments, attendee forms and feedback forms.
Phase V: Evaluate
- Collect training program evaluation data
- Collect project evaluation data
- Review program performance (number of participants, participant satisfaction, etc.)
- Report program performance results
Deliverable: Program evaluation report.
Levels of Evaluation
Regardless of whether you put a lot or a little effort into your educational programs, if you do not use proper evaluation techniques and strategies, you’ll never know if your programs are successful or not. Program success is not determined by whether participants were satisfied with their learning experience but whether they actually retained key information and apply it to their jobs in a way that improves their performance or some key organizational outcome.
Learning programs can be evaluated on several levels. While it is not always necessary, or cost effective, to apply the highest standards, it is often worthwhile to move beyond the most basic levels, which don’t tend to provide much actionable data or insight.
Donald Kirktrick introduced the four-level learning evaluation model in his 1994 book, Evaluating Training Programs. Kirkpatrick’s model is now considered an industry standard for evaluating learning or training programs. The four levels essentially measure:
- Reaction of participant – what they thought and felt about the training
- Learning – the resulting increase in knowledge or capability
- Behavior – extent of behavior and capability improvement and implementation/application
- Results – the effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee’s performance
Given how critical learning is to a successful meeting experience, it’s imperative that meeting professionals understand how to properly design, develop, deliver and evaluate learning solutions. Many of these tools, techniques, and models are already available within organizations where learning or continuing education is a core competency. There are also abundant external resources for those meeting professionals who require additional assistance.
Jack Phillips, founder of the ROI Institute, has extended Kirkpatrick’s model and developed ROI models specifically for meetings and events which can be found in his 2007 book, Proving the Value of Meetings & Events.