harold jarche's comment on my post regarding high performance technology got me thinking about evaluation and how valuable is the evaluation we do. harold commented that while he didn't find much to gain out of cpt (certified performance technician), he did feel the requirements were a great preparation for actually being a performance consultant.
but why have a certification if it has no meaning in the market. why handout questionnaires at the end of a training course, if the results aren't going to be recorded, tracked and reacted to?
i remember raising more than a few eyebrows at webct when we were developing the certified trainer program there. i was asking customers questions like, can you imagine including webct certification in an ad for a position you're filling? and all else being equal would you hire someone who had webct certification over someone who didn't? but why should i waste the significant resources we were going to
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spend developing and the maintaining a certification program if there was no value to the program. why make our customers jump through hoops if the only thing they gained was our giving them a piece of paper? by the reaction i got, nobody actually ever questioned the financial viability of certification training.
in the corporate world, the fitzpatrick level do logically meet a need, but there seems to be a ground swell of belief that they don't, at least as currently practiced, meet the real need for evaluation of training. that is determining if a training intervention is adding value to the business. godfrey parkin advocates the need for an overarching learning evaluation strategy in which he seeks to bring a macro, at the business level of analysis to evaluation. (search for "evaluation" on his site and get very complete coverage of evaluation issues.)
this makes sense. i've come to believe that the only reason for a learning organization to exist in a corporation is to effect behavior change in service of the corporate strategy. don't get me wrong, i'm all for discovery learning and learning by roaming - but that's not what a company is looking for when it funds a training organization. any more that it funds a sales group to just go out and make friends.
i've said it before, if we learning professionals don't learn how to close the deal and deliver on that promise, we'll be left standing on the sidelines while others in the company drive learning.