Learning Measurement 1 — Introduction

First of a Series

This is the first of a long series of blog entries devoted to the topic of learning measurement that I will offer over the next two weeks.

This series draws from my recent thinking on learning measurement and from my 2007 publication, Measuring Learning Results… It also introduces the findings from a remarkable research study that I participated in with the eLearning Guild and several other illustrious authors.

For the last year, I have spent many weeks devoted to rethinking the topic of learning measurement from the standpoint of the learning research. My research-to-practice report, Measuring learning results: Creating fair and valid assessments by considering findings from fundamental learning research, highlights the flaws in the current methods we use to measure learning results—and offers recommendations for how to improve our measurement practices. This report is available on my catalog. See below.

Why does Will Thalheimer Care about Measurement?

Why do I—a person who has spent the last 10 years attempting to bring fundamental learning research into focus—want to spend my “research time” on learning measurement?

Here’s why:

  1. The performance of the learning-and-performance field is severely deficient—often creating learning that is not remembered and/or not utilized on the job.
  2. Of the forces that control and influence our industry and the practices we use, measurement is one of the most critical.
  3. Currently, our measurement practices provide us with poor and biased feedback about our performance as learning-and-performance professionals.
  4. Because we do poor measurement, we don’t get good feedback (nor do our stakeholders), and so we have very little motivation to critically examine our practices—and improve them as valid feedback would suggest.

To put it simply, if we don’t measure better, we will continue to underperform—and we’ll continue to underserve our learners and organizations.

The eLearning Guild Report

The eLearning Guild report, “Measuring Success,” is FREE to Guild members and to those who complete the research survey, even if not a member.

Also available, at $1,895 ($1,950 if you are not a member), is Direct Data Access (DDA) to the database of research results , including the ability to filter the results based on a variety of factors, including the survey respondents’ experience, industry, country, job title, etc. These Direct Data Access reports will be invaluable for vendors who want to know how well their products are rated on a number of dimensions (more on this later in this series), and valuable to for those who want to benchmark their efforts against other organizations that are similar to theirs. If you want to make a case for improving your measurement practices, you absolutely have to buy direct data access.

Disclaimer: I led the surveying and content efforts on the research report and was paid a small stipend for contributing my time, however, I will receive nothing from sales of the report. I recommend the report because it offers unique and valuable information, including wisdom from such stars as Allison Rossett (the Allison Rossett), Sharon Shrock, Bill Coscarelli, (both of Criterion-Referenced Testing fame) James Ong (at Stettler Henke where he leads in efforts of measuring learning results through comprehensive simulations), Roy Pollock (Chief Learning Officer at Fort Hill Company, which is providing innovative software and industry-leading ideas to support training transfer), Maggie Martinez (CEO of The Training Place, specializing in learning assessment and design), Brent Schenkler (a learning-technology guru at the eLearning Guild), and the incomparable Steve Wexler (The eLearning Guild’s Research Director, research-database wizard, publishing magnate, and tireless calico cat herder).

How to Get the Reports

   1. eLearning Guild Measuring Success (Free to Most Guild Members)

  • If Member (Member+ or Premium): Just Click Here
  • If Associate Member, Take measurement survey, then access report.
  • If Non-member, Become associate member, take measurement survey, then access report.

    2. My Report, Measuring Learning Results: Click through to My Catalog

The Series Continues Tomorrow…