Did Your Employees Learn Anything?

How do you know if your legal training was effective?

Often, companies will have employees only test their knowledge after a course lesson has been completed. But this usually occurs only when the employees are taking online training through a learning management system (LMS). 

When in-house counsel deliver training in person (or, instructor-led training - ILT), we often don't take any time to test the effectiveness of our training. 

What can you learn through a post-training assessment?

Well, you can learn if an employee understands the legal concepts you taught during training. 

Isn't that what you want?

Well, yes, but you should also want to understand why they now understand the concepts. 

Was it because the training itself was effective? Or was it because they understood the concept before your training?

The distinction is surprisingly important. 

Pre-training and post-training assessments

Recently, the US DOJ announced that compliance programs should utilize both pre and post-training testing to measure whether the program itself is "effective" - a key compliance requirement.

What does this mean?

It means in-house counsel need to get on board with pre-training and post-training testing as soon as possible. 

How do I make effective pre-training and post-training assessments?

Okay, so you're on board with doing not just 1, but 2 assessments. What should those look like?

1. Be concise and clear

It is critical that your questions be either (1) detailed, fun hypotheticals, or (2) extremely concise. Leave no room in your question for ambiguity or misunderstanding. If people get the answer wrong, you want it to be because they don't know the answer. Not because they don't understand the question. 

2. Use hypotheticals

Using good hypotheticals is critical to the learner's experience. You must relate the training concepts to situations that employees actually encounter in their job. Who cares if they can blurt out an answer if they can't apply the knowledge in the real world?

Remember, legal training is not a "check-the-box" exercise.


3. Use the same questions

Although it can be better to produce 2 sets of questions, you won't truly be able to analyze if they're equivalents. Instead, use the same set of questions for both pre and post-training (just don't provide answers after the 1st time around). 

Using the same questsions will allow you to directly compare how well the employees understood the legal concepts both before and after training. It is this type of analysis the DOJ requires for "effective" compliance training. 

Once you have the data in hand, you may want to follow up with key individuals who did not perform well on the post-training testing. Additionally, the data (and post-training surveys) will help you understand what parts of the training need to be changed for future presentations to be more effective.