Review and evaluate approaches to developmentBY ARA Retail Institute
Development is the final pillar of effective people management and is a focus concurrent with leadership. Many retailers are investing heavily in staff development as a means of driving performance and the achievement of organisational objectives. Such investment requires review and evaluation to ascertain the quality of learning as experienced by individual learners and the resulting impact upon the organisation.
Finalise learning relationships
Ending a learning relationship appropriately is important to ensure that both parties can leave the learning program feeling fulfilled and that learning requirements have been met. Facilitators can benefit from a thorough evaluation of the relationship and self-reflection of their facilitation style to help determine what went well, and what could have been done better.
Part of defining the end of a learning facilitation relationship is finding out what worked and what didn’t work in the relationship. Reviewing the program in terms of outcomes achieved allows learners to appreciate their achievement and to reflect upon the process and how the relationship contributed to the outcome.
To thoroughly evaluate the program and relationship it is essential to gather feedback from your learners. This will give you a good idea of the value they placed on the relationship particularly the process used to achieve the agreed goals and outcomes.
Document and record completed learning initiatives
There may be legal or organisational requirements to retain documentation and records of completed learning initiatives.
Many trades, industries and professional bodies prescribe professional development, as well as processes of continuous improvement within their member organisations as part of quality management systems. National and international accreditation for organisations, such as the ISO9001 quality management systems standards, also requires evidence of an ongoing continuous improvement process.
Requirements vary, so it is important to discuss any requirements for maintaining records of evaluation within the organisation. Regardless of internal policies related to the retention of documentation and records of completed learning initiatives it is good practice to do so.
The benefits of effective record keeping are numerous for facilitators who wish to track learner progress and improvements to learning program outcomes. It is a sign of a high level of professionalism for facilitators to take steps to record the results and feedback from learning initiatives for their own development.
Evaluate and recommend improvements to learning frameworks
When attempting to gain an understanding of the value and effectiveness of a learning program from the learner perspective, it is important to consider what learning effectiveness means from a facilitator perspective. This process of self-evaluation requires reflection upon what was done, how it was done and how it may be done differently or better in future learning initiatives.
Documenting the findings of both the outcomes of learning initiatives and the findings of self-evaluation provides direction for the development of goals for improving future work based learning programs. It also allows for the piecing together of a longer-term picture of areas in the program that may be weaker than others, but can only be accurately identified through ongoing analysis.
In a similar vain to self and relationship evaluations, a wider evaluation of the entire work based learning pathway needs to be conducted to determine its effectiveness.
When evaluating a program, look to answer questions such as:
- Did the program achieve its objectives?
- Which elements worked well and which had less satisfying outcomes?
- Were the objectives attained in a timely manner?
- Were resources allocated effectively?
- Were resources sufficient?
- Was the selected work based learning pathway the best option?
- How did learners and their respective workplace supervisors view the program?
- What can be improved upon for future programs?
Program evaluation is similar to a learner facilitator relationship evaluation, with a much broader audience from which to gather feedback. All stakeholders in the work based learning program can be the source of valuable feedback as to the quality and outcomes expected and achieved.
If conducted effectively, the evaluation process may uncover areas, processes or techniques in the program that require alteration, review and replacement. In the learning relationship evaluation, these are things that can be done and changes that can be made on an individual basis.
Recommendations for improvement to learning initiatives must include valid evidence gained from self-reflection and stakeholder feedback received through your evaluation process.
The focus upon review and evaluation has demonstrated that innovative approaches to people management can lead to business sustainability if organisations integrate an approach to continuous improvement and view the process of recruitment, leadership, development and review as an ongoing cycle dedicated to business success. As individuals if we are not evolving we are dying and it seems the same is true in retail.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. The ARA Retail Institute is a Government Registered Training Organisation (RTO) making it fully qualified to offer retail education programs to ARA members and broader retail industry.