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Methods to evaluate education Part 2

Methods to evaluate education Part 2

STUDENT – shaping the future value

What is the objective of evaluating an education? STUDENT’s answer is that it should focus on to improve learning’s value that directly supports the organization’s activities and to increase the effectiveness of learning, and secondly as the name itself describes and which is the third analysis method’s main focus, namely that the individual, i.e. the student is at the centre of the evaluation.

The starting point for STUDENT is a Learning Portfolio, which contains of three parts, basic skills, on-demand learning and project-driven learning. The driving force of STUDENT thereby is based on which type of learning that is involved. This results in three forms of analysis for evaluating the ROI of the education.

STUDENT’s three components

Basic Skills

The characteristic for this category is that value-creation is based on general competence development. The evaluation is based on two cores; the educational outcome which includes measurement, which has been improved dramatically by the introduction of eLearning and teaching administration management modules. The second core is the activity and behaviour that can be attributed to the outcome of the training effort and furthermore to analyse new behaviour in the organisation. The questions that follow these objectives are for instance, were the objectives of the education fulfilled? Did the education change the behaviour and activities within the organization? If yes, how did it change? Observation, interviews and discussion is a workable method to answer the last two questions.

Learning on demand

A term that often follows “on demand” is “just in time”, in other words, a requirement-oriented approach when a new situation appears. In addition to satisfy the individual’s specific training requests at a given time (e.g. when she has taken on a new project), societal- and market-changes and the requirements for new skills that they bring form the foundation for the educational efforts. The entire learning-process is individualized.

The problem is to find a proper evaluation method for this level, because from a ROI point of view it is pointless to evaluate the activities of the student. Individual’s specialized knowledge is a by-product that indeed is used in the organisation. However, there will be no accurate result of the evaluation, since it is impossible to compare with a situation where the education had not been carried out. The focus of evaluation must instead be placed on comparisons with similar initiatives within the organization based on key criteria like content, performance, activity and outcomes.

Project-driven learning

This category concerns specific projects or initiatives sanctioned by the organization. The driving force origin from the project and the value is based on the specific outcomes that the project provides. It is therefore the management and performance that should be evaluated, as well as if the project’s objectives were achieved. In this category are thereby learning and work integrated with each other. This means that the evaluation of the training becomes part of the outcome of the project. If the analysis shows that the objectives were achieved then there is no reason to proceed with the evaluation. But if they were not achieved there could be three possible reasons, either the management of the project, invalid education activities related to the project or lack of education, or a combination.



The matrix serves as a summary of STUDENT’s Learning Portfolio. The approach makes it is possible to develop specific strategies to analyze each part of the Learning Portfolio which then can be combined to produce a comprehensive picture of the ROI of the organization’s training efforts. The results then can be used to improve Return of investment for future educational initiatives.

Written by
LarsGoran Bostrom©

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