FAQs

We get asked a lot of questions about best practice, learning methodology and our services. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a handy list of some of the most frequently asked questions for you to browse. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for here, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

How do you measure the impact of learning?

Once delegates leave the training room, it’s easy to think the job is done. However, the most vital step – transferring learning to the workplace – has only just begun and unless learners use what they’ve learned, you have wasted your money. Our custom-crafted learning outcomes questionnaire has enabled our Learning Consultancy team to assess how much learners use what they learn, and how it impacts individual performance.

The results can be compared with benchmark scores to see where a course has performed above or below average. This measure of learning allows clients to assess the value of a course. In most cases it confirms that a course is performing well, but in a few cases it has highlighted a problem which would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Our Learning Consultancy team employ an Impact Assessment to measure the impact of learning. The Impact Assessment uses Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method (SCM) in conjunction with our own learning outcomes methodology and the evidence we collect is used to demonstrate:

  • What enables certain learners to be highly successful in applying their learning
  • What barriers prevent other, unsuccessful, learners from applying their learning

We can show you how to reduce the barriers to success, enhance the enablers of success, and quantify the level of improvements you can expect.

How can I measure the ROI of my training programmes?

Difficult economic times create difficult economic challenges, and the world of learning and development (L&D) is not immune. In every area of every industry, directors and senior managers are being asked to justify their expenditure and find ways to make savings and cuts where they can.

We all know that training is important for the development of staff, but all too often the axe falls heaviest on L&D as executives look to eliminate what they consider surplus expenditure. It is vital that L&D teams can effectively demonstrate that effective training is integral to the company achieving its organisational goals. Viewing learning as an investment rather than a cost allows savings to be made without damaging the essential skills of your workforce.

However whilst 80% of L&D practitioners believe learning delivers more benefit than they can demonstrate, only 36% of organisations attempt to capture the effect of learning on the bottom line (Learning and Development: Annual Survey report, CIPD).

KnowledgePool’s Learning Consultancy team can help to develop key performance indicators that are directly linked to business goals. In addition, we will agree the processes and mechanisms required to regularly track these measurements. Using a combination of our own industry experience, our bespoke technological solutions and tried and tested learning assessment methodologies, we can help formulate an evaluation strategy for anything from a single course, to your entire learning portfolio.

Our consultants design and deliver effective training evaluation strategies based upon work by Donald Kirkpatrick, Jack Phillips and Robert Brinkerhoff, but we also monitor the latest emerging information, such as the ‘Value of Learning’ research project from the CIPD and Portsmouth Business School.

A Case Study: ‘Predicting the ROI of Training’

KnowledgePool conducted a skills assessment for a well-known IT organisation. This consisted of a series of carefully chosen competency-based questions, and was issued electronically.

6,000 responses were collected, collated and merged with other organisational data. Using the findings, KnowledgePool’s consultants were able to present a detailed analysis to the client which was followed up with an in-depth feedback workshop. The workshop resulted in:

  • a focused training plan which addressed skill shortages
  • an estimate of the cost of the skill shortage to the organisation
  • a business case for the training programme, showing a predicted ROI of 10 months

By using KnowledgePool’s unique technology and consultancy expertise our clients are able to make business decisions based on factual information, rather than (oft-conflicting) anecdotal evidence.

What is the best way to evaluate learning?

More and more organisations are keen to evaluate the impact of learning and development on their business, as well as to monitor and improve the quality of the learning they provide. Our standard evaluation approach is very quick to deploy, and our Learning Consultancy team can devise a tailored evaluation approach to meet your needs.

We Offer

  • Methodology (informed by Kirkpatrick, Phillips and Brinkerhoff) to guide and inform your evaluation strategy
  • Automated Kirkpatrick Level 1 and 3 evaluations online as standard, for all learning activity, regardless of where, when and with whom the training was delivered
  • Learning consultants, experienced in devising and delivering evaluation strategies

You Get

  • Reaction (Kirkpatrick level 1) feedback from all your training
  • Learning Outcomes (loosely maps to Kirkpatrick levels 3-4) feedback from all your training
  • Fast and efficient evaluation service, delivering the evaluation information you need

Benefits to you

  • The ability to
    • monitor the satisfaction levels for learning delivery
    • assess the transfer of learning to the workplace and the extent to which line managers support this process and
    • assess the impact of learning on individual performance
  • Evaluations are automated, delivering high value information at minimal cost
  • The potential to gather evaluation data where it is prohibitively expensive using paper-based evaluation techniques

How do you ensure effective delivery of often large and complex training programmes?

We have a long and prestigious track record, managing some of the largest and most complex training programmes in Europe. Our innovative approach combines industry expertise with the latest technology and it fully equips us to deliver even the most demanding of learning programmes.

We Offer

  • Training administration experts with extensive experience in the training marketplace
  • Learning consultants experienced in training needs analysis and blended solution design
  • Bespoke learning content development skills, enabling us to design and develop everything from conventional course materials to e-learning, video materials, self-teach workbooks, quick reference guides and train-the-trainer programmes
  • A large and flexible pool of training delivery resources, which can be deployed globally
  • Our Training Methodology; a tried and tested approach to the successful delivery of many large and complex managed training programmes.

Training Project Phases

You Get

  • A managed training programme service tailored to your requirements. This may cover any or all aspects as required: from initial needs analysis, through design, development, delivery, evaluation and end of project review
  • Award-winning, innovative blended learning solutions
  • A training programme team who understand your business, your requirement and your way of doing things

How do you ensure you book the most appropriate learning?

Our customers have tens of thousands of individual training requirements every year. The key to optimising return on investment in learning is the rigorous process that ensures that training requests are validated and routed in conjunction with corporate guidelines to the optimal learning intervention.

KnowledgePool’s Decision Tree Flowchart is used by our Training Administrationteam for each learning intervention they support to ensure that the right choices are made for the customer. Our consultancy team design them in conjunction with each customer to achieve the agreed learning, and meet the defined business objectives.

KnowledgePool’s vendor-independent status means that the Decision Tree can be objective and have the client’s best interests at heart at all times. It can include any form of learning including informal learning, coaching and e-learning.

Benefiting from our advice and guidance, our clients have complete control over the Decision Tree and therefore how learning is routed whether it be internally, externally or to an LMS.

Demand Planning and the ongoing analysis of evaluation data will inform the development of a Decision Tree which in turn underpins every learning recommendation that our advisors make.

The Decision Tree Flowchart ensures that each new learning request:

  • is actually necessary
  • uses the most cost-efficient and effective learning methodology
  • involves the right supplier and course at the right time in the right place
  • is aligned to the organisation’s business goals

How do you 'do' Curriculum Planning?

A key challenge for L&D professionals is having the right learning available, at the right place, at the right time. We draw on a combination of our relationship with you, together with the combined knowledge of over 2,000 training providers to get just what you need. We work with you to understand the expected demand for learning, and plan to ensure the right interventions are available when they are needed. The resulting curriculum is accessed in a number of ways:

  • For individuals, we offer a catalogue of courses (public open schedule and internal closed events)
  • For communities of learnerswe may supplement the catalogue with roadmaps of learning and accreditation paths, and training that is mapped to competencies
  • For wider development needswe can offer a full curriculum design service, to ensure the right combination of learning interventions is in place

Review and revitalise your catalogue!

Keeping your catalogue of training interventions up to date is important: business needs change, workforces change, learning technologies change. Our Managed Learning Service helps to keep a constant watch on the relevance of the interventions in your learning catalogue, making changes where necessary.

Efficient curriculum design could cut your training delivery costs by 20%

In a recent white paper “Are You Cutting It?”, we summarised the four main areas where large organisations could reduce their L&D spend. Effective design of learning solutions is the second largest area for potential savings.

Based on our experience of delivering managed learning services, we estimate that with careful choice and design of learning interventions, training delivery costs can be reduced by up to 20%.

Put in the wider context of the total training budget, and allowing for some additional investment in course development, that amounts to a 9.5% reduction in the overall training cost.

How do you design effective blended learning solutions?

A key skill for modern L&D practitioners is the ability to design effective blended learning solutions. This often entails the deployment of e-learning for the first time. Our Learning Consultancy team have many years’ experience in designing and deploying e-learning: our learning architects know what works, how it works, and we acknowledge that every situation is different.

Whether e-learning is appropriate or not, our learning architects will consider a whole range of potential learning delivery options when considering the most effective solution design to meet your learning needs.

Our learning solution design methodology considers:

  • The learning content. Is it the learning of facts, rules, processes, practical skills, cognitive skills and what level of judgement must be gained?
  • The learners. What is the learning gap? What is their access to learning like? What past experiences of learning modes do they have? What sorts of informal learning goes on?
  • The organisation. What is the organisational culture? What budget and other resources are available?

How do you align learning to business goals?

Achieving this is not just a matter of establishing best practice within the L&D community – it’s about building the right links with the rest of the business. Relationships at all levels up and down the business are important to ensure that L&D understand the needs and provides the right interventions at the right time, to the right people, on budget. Alignment of learning to business goals is increasingly recognised as the vital factor in helping L&D make a demonstrable impact on your organisation’s bottom line. The CIPD’s ‘Value of Learning’ research, carried out by the University of Portsmouth Business School, concluded that what really matters is the ‘Alignment’ of learning: if you get alignment right, everything else falls into place.

KnowledgePool’s Learning Consultancy team can assess the current alignment of your L&D provision to business goals and make recommendations on how to tighten the alignment, to make training more effective in supporting your business. It’s a compelling up-front alternative to the retrospective justification of learning through ROI.

Benefits

  • Better workforce productivity through more targeted training
  • Easier to demonstrate the impact of training
  • Easier for L&D to gain buy-in from the business

What is alignment?

All too often, learning is developed and delivered without considering how and where it contributes to business goals. A common assumption by training professionals is that training is ‘a good thing’ and the more we do, the more it helps the business. But experience and business budget holder expectations, tell us that is not necessarily the case. So, when budgets are tight, it’s vital that learning activities are carefully prioritised.

Tight alignment of learning to business goals:

  • helps learning to be seen as a tool for business improvement and not just a cost to the business
  • facilitates assessment of the return on investment and return on expectation of training
  • makes L&D’s contribution to the business clear to the senior stakeholders

How do I measure the effectiveness of my organisation's learning?

KnowledgePool’s learning consultants uses our proprietary Continuous Improvement Model to collect and analyse key training metrics. This model has evolved out of KnowledgePool’s over the last ten years delivering managed learning services to large organisations. The results are benchmarked against best practice, as defined by government statistics, leading training bodies and KnowledgePool’s own research.

Continuous Improvement

In today’s economy things change fast, you have to be adaptable and the world of L&D is no different. Whether it is new courses, new ways to tackle perennial challenges, or changes in your organisation’s business goals, L&D need to know how to adapt and improve.

KnowledgePool’s Continuous Improvement Model uses learning analytics to monitor a comprehensive range of KPIs which indicate the efficiency and effectiveness of the learning function. Our Learning Consultancy team deploy this model in partnership with our managed service clients, repeating the measurements at regular intervals and benchmarking the results against government statistics, leading training bodies and KnowledgePool’s own research. This supports a process of continual improvement: allowing identification and prioritisation of tasks, to ensure standards continue to rise and costs are kept under control.

Benefits

  • understand the strengths and weaknesses of your L&D operation
  • benchmark your performance against independent measures
  • identify areas for realistic cost savings
  • identify and prioritise an action plan for improvements to the L&D operation
  • improve credibility with your business stakeholders by demonstrating ongoing improvements to your L&D provision
  • reduce the total cost of learning across your organisation

Sample Outcomes

Using KnowledgePool’s Continuous Improvement Model, the following recommendations have been made:

  • We showed an international insurance organisation how they could reduce their total cost of learning by 38%
  • Using our model we formulated a plan for a major financial institution which would increase their fill rates for closed training events by 20% and reduce third party costs by £400k. We are now delivering those savings through a managed service arrangement

How do you analyse learning needs?

The most important aspect of any training programme is its context, and we recognise that the best understanding of the context of your learning requirement lies within your organisation.

KnowledgePool’s Learning Consultancy team has a group of highly skilled and experienced training needs analysts who provide a blueprint for the design and delivery phase of programmes by exploring and documenting:

  • The business drivers behind your programme.
  • The expectations of the stakeholders.
  • Gaps between current and desired levels of performance.
  • The required outcomes and means of measuring achievement.
  • Financial and timescale considerations.
  • Where the subject-matter expertise lies.
  • How your culture and infrastructure might influence the programme.
  • The learning preferences of the target audience.
  • How the programme links to internal competencies.
  • How the programme can be externally accredited or contribute towards national qualifications.

The training needs analysis will provide recommendations based on the finding from this research. These include:

  • The learning objectives, which can vary from role to role.
  • The most appropriate media for delivering every element of the programme.
  • Learner support requirements.

How do you report on the success of learning?

Our Management Intelligence (MI) capability gives you the full picture: from standard reports to bespoke management dashboards. We deliver high-value information which informs decision-making, provides quality measures and allows the control and management of cost.

We Offer

  • Reporting tools, to cover the standard reporting requirements.
  • Bespoke reporting service, including interactive graphical charts and MI dashboards, to meet specific organisational reporting needs.

You Get

  • Holistic view of all your L&D activity

Benefits to you

  • Accurate, complete and up-to-the-minute tracking of all your L&D activity.
  • Evidence based decision-making, rather than an over-reliance on subjective anecdotal feedback.
  • Constant monitoring against business KPIs.
  • Control of your L&D function.

How do you use Competency Frameworks?

KnowledgePool has extensive experience with competency-based learning, and helps organisations with:

  • Developing competency frameworks for your organisation
  • Providing learning materials that deliver the exact knowledge and skills required by specific competencies.
  • Mapping learning interventions to competency frameworks.

Did you know?

Research carried out by KnowledgePool across 200 UK public and private sector organisations, shows that 88% of participating organisations are using, implementing or planning on using competency frameworks.

How do you effectively manage the existing skills of your workforce?

Never before has it been so important for organisations to be able to understand and manage the skills in their workforce. Our specialist team of senior learning consultants, use leading edge technology to ensure that we can provide excellence and best practice in the areas of needs analysis, competency frameworks and skills assessment: all tightly integrated with the learning delivery function.

Our Skills Gap Analysis

Effective skills management enables a gap analysis of current workforce skill levels with that required by the business to meet its objectives.

At an individual level, skills management supports more effective focusing of training. When the training budget is allocated to line managers, a ‘use it or lose it’ approach to training spend often develops. This results in training spend allocated to development that does not support the business objectives (i.e. wasted spend). Our skills management service tightens the link between training authorisation and identified learning needs which support the business objectives.

Against this background, KnowledgePool’s Learning Consultancy team have developed services to help our clients manage the skills of their workforce, typically using competency frameworks. Our consultants have extensive experience working with competency frameworks and can help you with:

  • Development of competency frameworks and role competency profiles
  • Mapping learning activities to competency frameworks
  • Development and delivery of competency-based assessments
  • Succession planning
  • Workforce development planning

How do you find the best suppliers for the job?

Our Supplier Management team:

  • Provide recommendations on your optimum supplier base
  • Demonstrate how much more you could save on third party supplier costs
  • Minimise the risks associated with changing suppliers

Many organisations find themselves purchasing training from an ever-increasing number of suppliers. Too many suppliers can often lead to problems, including:

  • Spend is spread across many suppliers. This limits your ability to obtain the best discounts
  • An inability to manage so many supplier relationships properly. You may not notice service levels and quality slip, until a major problem occurs. The administration of relationships distracts procurement and HR from higher value tasks
  • Training lacks consistency

Case Studies

Outcomes from rationalisation projects we have completed include:

  • One client raised their supplier discount from 18% to 28%
  • For another, we progressively rationalised the supplier base over time, raising the supplier discount to 45%.
  • For a third, we reduced the number of suppliers in core subject matter areas from 12 to 5, increasing the discount by a further 5% (£100k). The analysis also showed how a further 5% efficiency saving could be made.

KnowledgePool’s Supplier Management team can audit your training spend and recommend ways to reduce the size of your supplier list and lower the cost of your learning, whilst still maintaining quality.

KnowledgePool purchases over £25m of training each year from over 2,000 training suppliers: from large national curriculum providers to independent associates. Our Supplier Management team are constantly negotiating with training suppliers across all subject areas to get the best quality for the best price.

Choosing new suppliers can be a time-consuming and risky process. Our supplier management function reduces both the time and the risk, because we’ll only recommend suppliers that have passed our quality checks and have a proven track record with us.

Can you deliver bespoke training programmes?

KnowledgePool is equally successful in developing effective instructor-led, e-Learning and blended learning programmes. We are unmatched in our combination of development experience, flexibility and capability.

Examples of elements we have experience of developing and delivering include:

  • Instructor-led events (ILT)– for example, onsite training, off-site events, scheduled courses, residential courses and appraisals.
  • Train-the-trainer programmes
  • e-Learning
  • Video-based training and microlearning
  • Paper-based trainingassets – for example, training manuals, workplace assignments and distance learning materials.
  • User support documentation– for example, course manuals, quick reference guides, frequently asked questions, written for hard copy or on-screen use.
  • Awareness programmes– for example launch events, internal mailings, videos, newsletters etc.

How do you optimise training administration?

KnowledgePool takes the heat out of booking training: simplifying and automating the process, whilst still following your own business procedures. These efficiencies are achieved using a combination of our proprietary Eclipse technology and our highly experienced Training Administration team of learning advisers.

All bookings can be conducted in a very simple way using our online catalogue, which is customised to your specific learning needs. A user simply chooses the training; if it’s a course they pick the date/location from the schedule and then add it to the shopping basket – just like any other internet purchase.

We will embed your purchasing processes into your portal. Each organisation is slightly different, but typical requirements we have met include:

  • Nominated ‘Training Administrators’ who can make training bookings on behalf of other members of the organisation. Training Administrators can review and track all bookings they have made
  • Nominated ‘Authorisers’ who can approve training bookings. Authorisers can review and track all bookings they have authorised
  • Different payment types, including purchase orders, credit cards and pre-paid skills vouchers/licences. Many of our clients prefer to take advantage of our consolidated invoicing service
  • Recording of Departmental Cost Codes for each purchase
  • Notes areas, to record special information about the booking (for example, to record special dietary requirements)

Once a booking is received, the delegate and our Training Administration team can track its progress using the portal. The delegate’s individual learning account screen shows all course information including the date, time and location.

Upon confirmation, joining instructions and any pre-course work are automatically sent out to the delegate. To minimise the risk of no-shows, we automatically send out a reminder email just before the course start date.

Can you manage compliance learning needs?

We can help you to ensure that the skills and qualifications of all your employees are compliant with the necessary legal and industry requirements.

KnowledgePool’s Learning Consultancy team, together with our Training Administration team can implement a bespoke competency framework for your organisation, which includes ongoing recording of certifications and accreditations needed for compliance purposes. In addition, we will provide regular expiry reporting for all those individuals who are due to become non-compliant and we will recommend the appropriate training and exams they need to take to take.

This compliance training tracking integrates with our Managed Learning Service offering and our Eclipse learning system to provide a seamless link between reporting an upcoming expiry and then actually booking the appropriate training course, giving you piece of mind that your organisation as a whole will remain compliant.

You get

  • Certification and accreditation recording
  • Expiry reporting
  • Skills and Competency gap analysis
  • Proactive scheduling of re-accreditation training

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