A. Formative Evaluations
Formative evaluation is defined as an evaluation that aims to improve the training program design and development (Wang & Wilcox, 2006). This is accomplished by identifying weaknesses in the training material, methods, and learning objectives. This method of evaluation focuses more on the qualitative aspect that occur during the training program and less on the objective outcomes that result from the training. Some questions asked during formative evaluations are generally more open ended and lead to analysis of the processes used in the program. It analyzes and evaluating the individual components that make up training programs such as the planning, design, implementation, and progress of participants. This type of evaluation is used primarily for new training programs to determine how they can be conducted more effectively in the future. In regards to the ADAPP program used by the North American Transportation Company (NATC), formal questionnaires asking program participants about the structure and delivery of content would be an example of formative evaluation. The NATC could then use information gathered through these questionnaires to adjust the content and how the program is conducted in the future to improve its effectiveness in relaying the information to employees.
B. Summative Evaluations
In contrast, a summative evaluation is used to determine whether the goals and objectives of the training program have been met (Wang & Wilcox, 2006). It therefore is not concerned at all with how the training program is conducted, but what the outcomes are as a result of the training program. Unlike formative evaluations that take place before and during the training program, summative evaluations are conducted after the training program has been delivered to employees. Its goal is to understand and measure the benefits to individual employees as well as the organization that have resulted from the training program. It uses more quantitative analysis to determine the effectiveness of the program. Some human resource professionals see summative evaluation as more valuable to organizations because it has the ability to demonstrate to decision makers the benefit of training programs (Wang & Wilcox, 2006). In relation to the NATC and their ADAPP program, summative evaluations could be measuring the rate of absenteeism upon completion of the training program, and comparing those numbers to the absenteeism rate prior to the program. This allows the company to generate a cost-benefit analysis, looking at the cost to provide the program to its employees, and the benefit, being reduced absenteeism and fewer workplace accidents and injuries. These evaluations give employers greater information to support decision making in regards to future training program investments.
III. Best Practices in Data Collection
Data collection design in regards to training evaluation is concerned with how the data collection occurs, how it is organized and how it will be used (Saks & Haccoun, 2014). There are two main forms of design when collecting data; experimental and non-experimental. An experimental design analyzes data that has been collected from a group of individuals who have participated in a training program and compares it to another group of employees who have not received the training. This