If you are not doing follow-up evaluation of your training programs, you are not getting the most you can from these performance interventions. I’ve written about this before but it deserves repeating. Evaluation has many uses. Kirkpatrick uses evaluation to determine learner reactions, increased knowledge, behavior change, and results. Phillips uses evaluation to measure the ROI of training. Brinkerhoff uses evaluation to assess impact of training on the business. I think another just as valid purpose of evaluation is to ensure learning.
Asking participants questions about their learning makes it more likely that learning will occur. When I read a book, especially fiction, and don’t discuss the book with anyone for several weeks, I forget what I read. The same phenomenon occurs for most people after attending training events. If they do not think about the material again in a meaningful way within a short period of time, they forget. Follow-up evaluation requires learners to think meaningfully about what they learned.
Simply the process of asking questions of learners has the effect of cementing that knowledge in their brains. Maybe it’s the repetition. Maybe it’s the renewed commitment to the content. Maybe it’s the sense of being held accountable for learning. Whatever the internal process that goes on in learners, the result of asking questions is employees that are more likely to retain new knowledge and apply that learning to their work.