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By Leona Seakins

With the maxim of “right training, right time, right person at the right cost”, the Defence Learning Branch has expanded its training evaluation function to more broadly capture efficiency and effectiveness measures for Defence training, including quantifying the return on investment of this training.

Training evaluation has grown beyond the traditional Kirkpatrick level one and two post-course reviews that are regularly conducted. The emphasis is now on the effectiveness of the course and the extent to which the training is reaching its desired outcomes.

Brigadier Gates says effective evaluation allows the department to continually improve the training and education it delivers.

“The Defence Learning Branch has worked across the department to build the capacity to design and conduct evaluation in work areas that have the understanding of what is being delivered and why,” he says.

“What has impressed me is how people have embraced this approach. More importantly, though, is the positive impact this has had on the training and education we deliver.”

Interest in the Defence focus on comprehensive training evaluation has grown in recent times, particularly within government communities. That focus is based on support for capacity building of course owners to conduct their own evaluations through training in robust return on investment evaluation models, web-based support tools and mentoring.

Sharing best practice

Defence has taken the lead in the creation of a community of practice for government learning and development evaluators under the auspices of the APS Learning and Development Community of Practice Forum.

Supporting remote and regional operations

Following a request of the North Queensland Learning and Development Forum, the Defence Learning Branch launched a cooperative venture between the APS and Queensland Public Service to deliver its two-day return on investment training program to more than 100 participants from both Queensland State and Commonwealth departments in Townsville and Cairns.

This training will allow regional and remote participants to access training that is otherwise unavailable outside major metropolitan centres. The program aims to grow the capacity of program owners by teaching participants how to plan and conduct training evaluations from initial analysis through the complete lifecycle of the learning solution, including how to forecast return on investment and improve efficiency and effectiveness.