There are many widely held negative beliefs about social experimentation (i.e., L&D evaluation) that limit effective organizational decision making, the ability to generate reliable evidence, and deeply informed insights. There absolutely is some element of truth to the negative beliefs, but I want to weaken these beliefs and arm you with arguments to counter them as you educate your stakeholders and drive smarter decision making.
For each post in this upcoming series of four, I will present a common belief and my counter-argument. I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments.
L&D evaluation (i.e., social experimentation) requires too much investment and is too costly.
L&D evaluations (social experiments) can be costly in terms of employing, hiring, and/or contracting with skilled resources, capturing and cleaning data, and building reports with a socialization strategy. An old rule of thumb is that 10% of the intervention budget should be allocated to program evaluation. However, the cost of the evaluation, regardless of the design, is undeniably smaller in the end than the cost of letting an ineffective intervention remain in place indefinitely, or the failure to expand a successful one. Sustained program evaluation will produce the critical evidence needed for program learning and management decision making. Spending money to gain these insights is a necessary financial investment in working smarter.
Spending money on evaluation is not a tradeoff. Don’t think of it as money you could have spent on training more people. Think of it as money you spent so you can maximize the effectiveness of your training, ensuring you train the RIGHT people at the RIGHT time.