Learning and Development


Learning and Development – Evaluating Training Course Effectiveness

By Mark Hubbard |

Achieving Practical Outcomes Through Training

  • Objective Setting: It helps to think about what we’re trying to achieve, particularly in work skills focused training, such as Category Management.
  • Beyond Theoretical Understanding: It’s not enough to understand some of the theory behind the subject. We need to get participants to the place where they are effectively applying the learning in such a way that they are delivering measurable improved results consequently.

The Importance of Measuring Outcomes

This has some pretty significant implications, not least that we need to be able to measure outcomes (by which we mean business outcomes) at some time after the delivery of the training and seek indicators of increased effectiveness.

Challenges in Procurement Training

In a procurement environment, we often have a range of measures in place, although they are usually too focused on simple price down measures. This is a good place to start, but it also implies that should be working out the measures to use within an annual round of objective setting within the overall design of a change program – we want the measures to be set up both to achieve the right procurement outcomes, but also link via personal objectives into training.

Learning and Development’s Role in Training Success

  • Clear Expectations: This also implies that the participants in the training need to have a very clear understanding that they are expected to use the training outcomes to deliver results.
  • Necessity of Management Review: Management review and guidance is necessary to make sure that is happening. There is nothing worse than setting up a measurement approach and then not giving people the time and support to make sure that they are able to deliver the required outcomes.
Learning and Development

Designing Effective Learning and Development Activities

This further implies that the training needs to be set up in a way to deliver sufficient understanding of the activities to be adopted that people can use them in their daily lives. The design of the learning and development activities needs to focus on both the theoretical background of the tools encountered, but also the real-world application, suggesting a lot of breakouts to explore use.

Supporting Teams Post-Training

For line managers, this suggests that they need to be ready to support their teams in both the use of the tools learned, and test and challenge them to expand that usage.

Systemic Approach to Training

This speaks to a systemic approach to delivering the required outcome, which is improved performance. The evaluation of the training does need to bridge all these areas to ensure that the right elements are in place.

Addressing Procurement Training Design and Participant Alignment

There are other areas to consider here as well. One often observed challenge in training is that the individuals who are receiving the training have only a slight connection to the reason for the training, often because of poor course descriptors or participant selection processes. When the training is designed for a specific set of outcomes, and the outcomes are linked to individuals’ job roles, then there is an up-front requirement to make sure that the people attending are suitable for the course that is being delivered.

It is better to adjust the course to suit actual needs than it is to deliver an unsuitable course for particular people. This tight alignment provides excellent results when it is correct, but poor outcomes when there is a mismatch.

Pre-Course Briefing Importance

Much of this points to the need for carefully considered briefing before a course happens. We need to ensure that the attendees are given the correct information to ensure that they can prepare properly, and to make sure they bring the right mindset, linked to their desire to deliver excellent outcomes.

Conclusion: Evaluating and Improving Procurement Training Courses

So, we started with the concept of how we can evaluate training courses, but this has led to a review of a wide range of interlinked elements, all of which combine to deliver the best possible outcome. When commissioning training, we need to be very clear about the outcomes we are trying to achieve, to make sure we are clearly building in that direction.

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We’re passionate about how a well-integrated approach to learning and development can profoundly impact your company’s procurement strategies and overall business outcomes. For more insights or to discuss how we can help you design impactful training programs, contact us today!

About Mark Hubbard


30+ years experience in procurement and supplier management, in line and consulting roles
Previous employment: Positive Purchasing Ltd, SITA,
QP Group, BMW, SWWS, Rover
Education: BSc in Engineering Metallurgy, MBA University of Plymouth
CIPS: Current Member