The development and validation of an evaluation model for a corporate human resource development department
Kropp, Richard P.
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The purpose of this study was to develop a model for the evaluation of training programs offered within corporate settings most often focused on the management staff. The study is based on the notion that in order to claim success, a training program first must meet a set of criteria that allows it to be called a "program". This means that a "training program" must be able to establish that the claims it makes about its outcomes (rules of success) are in fact achieved through some specified activity in the classroom (rules of action). The study attempts to answer the question; Can an evaluation process be developed and implemented that will allow training managers to make informed policy decisions without depending solely upon on participant reactions? Further it sought to shift the methodology to process of evaluation from an inductive one to a deductive one. That is, rather than drawing generalizations about program success from specific reports of outcomes alone it sought to arrive at specific conclusions by viewing a program as a total mechanism, with both inputs and outputs clearly delineated. Finally, the study attempted to provide a number of working tools to practitioners who might be engaged in the evaluative process employing this methodology. Procedure: This study was conducted over. a period of two years in a working corporate training environment. During the first six months the model presented in this study was developed and tested and over the subsequent eighteen months it was implemented in actual corporate training sessions. Four tasks were accomplished. First, a logical matrix was created intended to be used by evaluators to link each stated program objectives to the specific classroom activities designed to achieve them. Second, a series of activity focused worksheets were developed whose purpose was to assist the evaluator in that phase of the data collection effort. Third, a participant reaction questionnaire was developed that would be completed at the end of the program. And fourth, a follow-up instrument was developed to be administered in the working environment at intervals of 30, 90 and 120 days after the finish of the course. CONCLUSIONS: From the findings of the study, the following conclusions were drawn. 1. It is possible to construct a deductive model for program evaluation that allows trainers/policy makers to reveal how the structure of a program to determine its effects. 2. The deductive model provides a level of infrastructural detail required but often unable to achieve through traditional methods of training program evaluation. 3. Coupling a detailed structural model with superordinate feedback permits the long term "take and "use" of a training program to be more precisely measured. 4. The methodology of this evaluation model is cost competitive with other procedures. 5. The findings indicate that the rational of this deductive model is more acceptable to corporate trainers/policy makers.
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