By Jazmine Boatman, Ph.D.
I eat breakfast during my morning commute, I make phone calls while I’m running errands, and I file email messages as soon as I’ve read them. I am constantly looking for ways to be more efficient. So naturally, any compilation that says “Best Of” is going to find itself at the top of my (long) reading list, in particular ASTD’s “The Best of Measuring and Evaluating Learning” in T+D magazine.
In terms of better understanding how to measure the impact development programs are having on the business, this 14-article collection couldn’t sum up the thorny topic any better. It has all the makings of a good story—a compilation of history, case studies, and even myth-busting. Plus, how often do you get to find out from the source why one heavyhitter (Kirkpatrick) wants to sue another (Phillips of ROI fame)?
But what I liked best about this issue is that it leaves you with one of the most important messages about measurement: There is no magic bullet and time is wasted spent searching for it. It comes down to a realistic dialogue about objectives, metrics, and stakeholders: What were your objectives? What metrics will prove that you met them? Is that what your stakeholders care about? Each organization will answer this question differently. So if you’re wondering how to navigate through the weekly catch phrases (e.g., ROI, ROE, “strategic” measurement) and want to efficiently make some progress towards answers, I would suggest thumbing through this issue.
In the editor’s note, Paula Ketter worked hard to boil it down for us: “document expectations of the program and then measure those expectations”. Save yourself some time: That’s about as close as we’re going to get to a magic bullet.
Jazmine Boatman, Ph.D. is the Manager of DDI's Center for Applied Behavioral Research (CABER).