How to Measure the Impact of Training
on Your Association

Most people are guarding their dollars closely these days, wanting to maximize the benefit they experience for the money they are spending. As a result, associations charged with elevating the expertise of their membership need to ensure that their training programs are effective and deliver real value to their members.

Associations come in all shapes, sizes and types. But they all have the same thing in common — they bring together like-minded people who want the necessary knowledge and skills to grow and succeed. Measuring the impact of training is crucial for assessing the success of the training and making data-driven improvements to ensure the association is achieving its goals.

Consider this perspective on learning measurement from Brandon Hall Group’s 2023 Learning and Development Benchmarking Study that clearly shows the importance organizations place on the measurement — 94% indicating they measure learning on some level.

 Source: Brandon Hall Group™ 2023 Learning and Development Benchmarking Study

By following a few proven steps, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your association’s training programs and make informed decisions to enhance their impact on member learning and engagement. To explore more, keep reading and be sure to check out this blog from Brandon Hall Group™ Smartchoice® Preferred Provider LearnUpon to go deeper on member training as a whole.

Define Your Training Goals

The foundation of measuring the impact of training lies in defining clear and specific training goals. These goals serve as the benchmarks against which you can assess the success and effectiveness of your training programs. When setting training goals, consider the following key points:

  1. Specify the Specific Skills or Knowledge Members Should Gain — Clearly outline the skills or knowledge members should acquire through the training. This could include enhancing their technical expertise, improving their leadership abilities or increasing their understanding of industry trends. Be as specific as possible to ensure that the training program is tailored to address these specific needs.
  2. Align Training Goals with the Overall Objectives and Mission of the Association — Ensure that your training goals are aligned with the broader objectives and mission of your association. The training should contribute to the overall growth and success of the association and support its core values and purpose.
  3. Determine the Level of Proficiency Members Should Achieve — Define the level of proficiency members should attain after completing the training. This could be measured through assessments, certifications or practical demonstrations. Setting clear proficiency standards helps evaluate the effectiveness of the training in enhancing members’ skills and knowledge.
  4. Consider the Needs and Interests of Different Member Segments — Recognize that your association likely comprises diverse member segments with varying needs and interests. Tailor your training goals to cater to these different segments, ensuring that the training is relevant and engaging for all members.
  5. Make Sure the Training Goals are Measurable and Achievable — Set training goals that are quantifiable and achievable within a specific timeframe. This allows you to track progress, assess results and make necessary adjustments to the training program.

By following these steps, you will establish a solid foundation for measuring the impact of training for your association. Clearly defined training goals provide a roadmap for designing effective training programs, evaluating their success and ultimately, enhancing the value you deliver to your members.

Choose the Right Metrics

Monitoring members’ progress and assessing the effectiveness of online learning programs doesn’t have to be complex. You’ll need to implement tools and processes that facilitate tracking and evaluation, so you know what’s working well and where to make improvements.

With the right LMS, you can arm your organization with the data you need to track and measure your learner’s training performance, and most critically, tie your learning insights back to your association’s impact.

When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of training for your association, choosing the right metrics is essential. These metrics, often referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs), provide quantifiable insights into the success of your training initiatives. Here are some important metrics to consider:

  • Engagement and Completion Rates — Monitor the percentage of members who actively engage with and complete assigned training modules or courses. High completion rates indicate that your training content resonates with your members and aligns with their needs. Additionally, track engagement metrics such as time spent on training materials, video views and interaction with quizzes to gauge the level of interest and participation.
  • Knowledge Retention and Application — Assess members’ retention and application of the knowledge gained from training through follow-up assessments, quizzes or certification exams. Strong knowledge retention demonstrates the effectiveness of your training programs. Furthermore, evaluate whether the acquired knowledge is being applied in real-world scenarios, leading to improved performance and decision-making.
  • Performance and Productivity Impact — Determine the tangible impact of training on member performance and productivity. This can be measured by tracking relevant KPIs specific to your association, such as increased renewals, increased sales, net increase in overall membership, enhanced project outcomes, improved customer satisfaction ratings or reduced operational costs. By linking training initiatives to measurable improvements, you can showcase the value and return on investment of your training programs.
  • Return on Investment (ROI) Analysis — Calculate the ROI of your training investments by comparing the costs associated with training, including development, delivery and resources, with the benefits gained. Positive ROI indicates that your training programs are yielding tangible returns, whether through increased revenue, cost savings or improved member engagement.
  • Member Satisfaction and Feedback — Gather feedback from members to gauge their satisfaction with the training provided. This can include measures such as a Net Promoter Score (NPS) on the training. Positive feedback reflects the value and relevance of your training programs. Encourage members to share their experiences, suggestions and areas for improvement to continuously enhance the quality and effectiveness of your training offerings.

By selecting the appropriate metrics and analyzing the collected data, you gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your training initiatives. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions, refine your training strategies and demonstrate the tangible impact of training on your association’s overall success and member development. Embrace data-driven decision-making to optimize your training programs and drive positive outcomes for your association and its members.

Gather Feedback from Members

Obtaining member feedback is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of your association’s training programs. It offers valuable insights into members’ experiences, perceptions and suggestions for improvement. Here’s a refined approach to gathering meaningful feedback:

  1. Craft Effective Surveys — Design surveys or questionnaires that capture members’ perspectives on various aspects of the training program. Include a mix of open-ended questions to encourage detailed responses and closed-ended questions for efficient data analysis.
  2. Promote Participation — Actively promote the survey through various communication channels, such as personalized emails, social media platforms and the association’s website. Emphasize the significance of their input in shaping future training initiatives.
  3. Ensure Confidentiality — Guarantee members that their responses will remain strictly confidential. This creates an environment of trust, encouraging honest and candid feedback.
  4. Analyze Feedback — Compile and analyze the collected feedback meticulously. Identify recurring themes, positive aspects and areas that require improvement. This analysis should provide a comprehensive understanding of members’ experiences.
  5. Implement Actionable Changes — Utilize the feedback to drive informed decisions and enhancements to the training program. Address members’ concerns, implement suggested changes and continuously refine the training experience to meet their evolving needs.

By actively seeking and analyzing member feedback, associations can gain invaluable insights that guide their training program development. This data-driven approach ensures that training initiatives align with members’ expectations and contribute effectively to their professional growth and development.

Monitor Member Engagement

Tracking member engagement is crucial to assessing the effectiveness of your association’s training programs. Here are some key metrics to monitor:

  • Number of Members Who Complete Each Module — This metric provides insights into the overall participation and completion rates of your training program. Monitor the completion rates for individual modules to identify any modules that members find challenging or less engaging.
  • Time Spent on Each Module — Analyze the average time members spend on each module. This metric helps you understand the level of engagement and whether members are dedicating sufficient time to absorb the training content. If members are spending significantly less time on a module compared to others, it could indicate a lack of interest or difficulty with the content.
  • Member Progress and Completion Rates — Monitor the progress of individual members throughout the training program. Identify members who are consistently falling behind or struggling to complete modules. This information can help you provide targeted support and ensure that all members have the opportunity to benefit from the training.
  • Areas Where Members Struggle or Drop Off — Identify any specific modules or topics where members encounter difficulties or drop out of the training program. Analyze the reasons behind these challenges and make necessary adjustments to the training content or delivery methods to improve member engagement and retention.
  • Surveys and Feedback Forms — Regularly collect feedback from members through surveys and feedback forms. Ask members about their satisfaction with the training content, delivery methods and overall learning experience. Use this feedback to make informed improvements and enhance the training program to better meet members’ needs and preferences.

By closely monitoring member engagement, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your association’s training programs. Use these insights to make data-driven decisions, optimize your training strategies and ensure that your members are receiving high-quality, engaging training that supports their professional development and contributes to the success of your association.

Analyze Results and Refine Your Approach

Analyzing the outcomes of your association’s training initiatives and refining your approach based on those findings are crucial for continuous improvement. Evaluating the effectiveness of your training interventions involves comparing pre- and post-training performance, identifying areas where members require additional support and providing targeted resources to bridge those gaps.

Gauging member satisfaction and engagement levels through surveys, feedback mechanisms and other engagement metrics offers valuable insights into their experiences. This information serves as a foundation for making data-driven decisions regarding content enhancements, delivery methods and overall program design.

Assessing the return on investment (ROI) of your training programs is essential in determining the tangible benefits they bring to your association and its members. Consider factors such as increased member retention, enhanced member proficiency and knowledge, and improved organizational performance. A positive ROI underscores the value of your training initiatives and justifies further investment.

Based on your analysis, refine your training approach to optimize its impact. This may entail adjusting content, delivery methods, assessment strategies or any other aspect of the program. Continuously solicit feedback from members and stakeholders, demonstrating your willingness to adapt your approach based on their needs and preferences. By analyzing results and refining your approach, you ensure that your association’s training programs deliver maximum value to your members, contributing to the overall success and growth of your organization.

Final Thoughts

Many organizations don’t measure learning because they don’t even know what they’re looking for. Stick to a proven strategy — or fail quickly with one that’s not working. But stick with learning measurement. Many respondents to Brandon Hall Group™ studies tell us they have shown an increase in proficiency — with learners and well as their Learning function itself — from just two years ago.

Member training has the potential to generate enormous value for associations when done well. Begin with the end in mind when defining your association’s learning strategy and then continuously review and refine your offerings to ensure that you are providing the kind of value that your members expect and long for.

To learn more about how LearnUpon can help you jumpstart your association’s member training plan, click here.

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Matt Pittman

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman brings nearly 30 years of experience developing people and teams in a variety of settings and organizations. As an HR Practitioner, he has sat in nearly every seat including Learning and Leadership Development, Talent Management and Succession Planning, Talent Acquisition and as a Human Resources Business Partner. A significant part of those roles involved building out functions in organizations and driving large scale change efforts. As a Principal Analyst, Matt leverages this in-depth experience and expertise to provide clients and providers with breakthrough insights and ideas to drive their business forward.