One of the questions in my research in to Learning 2.0 in the Enterprise seeks to identify what methods employer use to evaluate effectiveness of social computing for workplace learning. Reading the comments left for this question it is evident that most employees believe that their employer does not carry out any sort of evaluation, either that or they are unaware of any evaluation being undertaken.
Of course organisations will have differering views of what is 'effective'. One respondent raises the spectre of counting inputs and outputs; number of users that access the social computing for learning environment, number of pieces of content posted, number of downloads, number of hits on a particular article, document or blog posting and so on. In my view these are tempting measures to quote as evidence of 'effectiveness' because they are easy to count with social computing tools, however they are not measures of effectiveness - rather they are measures of throughput.
These are the sorts of measures that echo the dark days of the corporate Training Department, where success was measured in learner days, courses delivered, students taught and tests passed - irrespective of whether any of the learning delivered was timely, appropriate, relevant, aligned with business need or had any impact upon employee performance.
That said, I don't claim to have a clear answer as to how the effectiveness of social learning can be objectively evaluated. In my questionnaire I offer a small number of commonly used evaluation methods and open the door to respondents who know of other methods that may be in use in their corporation. So far, the popular response to that question seems be be 'none'.
My research continues and if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a £50 (UKP) Amazon or iTunes voucher, I would appreciate your help in completing this questionnaire www.surveymonkey.com/s/3HD7JQW
The questionnaire will be available until 20th July 2012 and it takes about 10 mins to complete. Every participant who leaves an email address will receive a 'thank you' in the form of a $10 (USD) store credit to spend with National Geographic's partner www.novica.com - a great way to support artisans in developing nations.
Participation is anonymous (unless you wish to leave your email address), and all my findings, conclusions and recommendations will be published in October, and sent to those who wish to receive a copy.