Why should we evaluate diversity training? One primary reason is to determine if the benefits derived from the training program justify the costs. Some other reasons could be:
- To determine how well the diversity training initiative met participants’ needs and to what extent the participants mastered the content.
- To assess how much of the diversity training content, including newly acquired knowledge and skills, transferred to on-the-job behaviors.
- To determine whether the results of the diversity training contributed to the achievement of organization’s goals.
- To determine the initiative’s Diversity Return on Investment.
The ISD Process
ISD is a systems approach to analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate any type of training. Each phase of the ISD process provides information that feeds directly into the next, as each phase must be completed before moving on to the next. If a phase is skipped, the process is not ISD.
Professionally created diversity training follows this five phased process: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation — commonly referred to as the “ADDIE model.” In ADDIE, analysis is the input for the instructional system; design, development and evaluation are the process; implementation is the output. These elements overlap somewhat, depending on the project, and because the instructional system is dynamic, there will be some sharing of duties.
Phase 1: Analysis
The analytical phase is sometimes referred to as a “front-end analysis,” “needs assessment” or “needs analysis.” An effective needs analysis answers the following questions:
- What is the problem?
- Is diversity training the answer to the problem?
- What knowledge and skills should be included in the diversity training course?
- Who needs to be trained?
Analysis is the data-gathering element of diversity training design. Here diversity instructional designers assemble all the information they can possibly gather about the strategic business problem or opportunity before they consider anything else.
Phase 2: Design
After the problems have been defined and trainees and course outcomes have been determined, it is time to begin the design phase. This phase develops a training blueprint that includes:
- Learning objectives
- Content outlines
- Course structure
- Training methods and media
Design is the blueprinting stage of instructional systems during which diversity instructional designers create the project blueprint with all the specifications necessary to complete it. During this stage, diversity instructional designers write the objectives, construct course content, and complete the design plan.
Phase 3: Development
The next phase of the ISD process is development of the diversity training course. The steps of this phase are:
- Develop a draft set of training materials.
- Pilot test the training materials with the target audience, and make necessary revisions.
- Finalize training materials.
Materials production and pilot testing are the hallmarks of development. Everything from lecture notes to virtual reality is brought from design to deliverable. Before diversity instructional designers move from development to implementation, it is wise for them to do pilot testing to ensure deliverables do not need revision. The pilot testing process allows organizations to implement any necessary changes before expenses associated with materials development are realized. Pilot testing also helps designers feel confident what they have designed works.
Phase 4: Implementation
The implementation phase involves conducting the diversity training program and completing any related follow-up activities to ensure learning transfer on the job. At implementation, the design plan meets the leaner, and content is delivered. The evaluation process most diversity designers and learners are familiar with takes place in this element. Diversity training evaluation is used to gauge the degree to which learners meet objectives and facilitators or technologies deliver expected outcomes.
Phase 5: Evaluation
The final phase of the ISD process is to determine whether diversity training was successful. It will answer the following questions:
- What is diversity training evaluation?
- Why evaluate diversity training?
- What are diversity training evaluation levels?
- How is the diversity training analysis and diversity evaluation linked?
- How is an effective diversity training evaluation conducted?
Evaluation doesn’t deserve to be listed last in the ADDIE model because it takes place in every element and surrounds the diversity instructional design process. Evaluation is a constant guard at the gate of failure.
The advantages of using an instructional system are numerous, the most important being the ability to design diversity projects quickly and efficiently. Nothing is left to chance or ignored when a diversity instructional designer stays within the ADDIE framework or other ISD models. It is my contention that an effective ROI-based diversity training evaluation cannot be completed unless the training design was built using ADDIE and a behaviorally specific competency model built on correctly structured objectives.
Do you know and use ADDIE?