By Mrs. Marisa Gana Amir
As presented in the first summary of the last post on the subject, problems in training become obvious for the first time when a security incident occurs and the employee responds incorrectly. Therefore building a good, effective training program into the regular schedule of the security operation will not only reduce the risk of an incident occurring and minimize the effect of incidents when they occur, but will also, reduce the costs and liability to the organization.
In the last post I had presented the four levels of the Kirkpatrick model in general as the most effective method of assessing training, and would like to use this post to go into deeper detail into each level.
1. Level 1 – reaction: how did the participants react to the training?
Reaction evaluation is how the students felt, and their personal reactions to the training or learning experience. Basically, when building a training program we take into consideration that there are two main goals:
- Imparting the professional materials such as SOP (standard operating procedures) and doctrine. As mentioned in the last post, using methods such as computer-based learning, frontal lectures, simulators and on-the-job training. Security managers must adopt an aggressive, proactive approach to educating their security force. For example, IED detection training must include visual samples of different kinds of explosives so that the trainee could see what to look for when performing security procedures. Drills and procedures such as body frisking and crowd control during fire emergency must be practiced by each trainee after learning the theory.
- Training must be made interesting, realistic and practical and it is important to know whether the participants were satisfied or disappointed from the training program. By creating an atmosphere that communicates to trainees that their feedback is valued, it easier to get their cooperation to feedback the training program.
Evaluating this stage should consider parameters such as the level of participation, comfort of experience, the level of effort required to make the most of the learning, etc, after developing an acceptable scoring standard. This is an immediate evaluation, e.g. Right after the training program ends; the participants must feedback by use of a variety of methods/tools such as feedback forms, verbal reaction and post training surveys (written or online)
2. Level 2- learning: at the workplace- what did the participant learn as a result of the training?
Learning evaluation is the measurement of the increase in knowledge or intellectual capability from the beginning of training and up to the deployment of forces in the field.
The most important question in this matter is- did the trainees learn what was intended to be taught? And what is the advancement or change after the training? Here the security management in the field has an important role; they will begin assessing the learning of each participant from the moment the officer is deployed and will continue to do so periodically.(e.g. Is the security guard checking vehicles and visitors according to SOP? Is he aware of the emergency procedures, does he know the types of IED’s to look for in an under vehicle or boot check? Etc. )
These questions could be answered by assessments or tests made before and after the training, also by performing observations and interviews with the security personnel, .employees need constant feedback in order to improve.
An additional way of evaluating learning for our security deployments is performing “red-teaming” exercises and external audits, so that the security department management receives realistic and neutral information about their security deployment’s preparedness.
3. Level 3- behavior: did the participant change his behavior as a result of the training?
Behavior evaluation is the extent to which the trainees applied the learning and changed their behavior; this can be done once training (initial or recurrent) is carried out.
The important questions to be asked during this phase are:
- Did the trainees implement the new material, SOPs or other professional knowhow when deployed?
- Was there a noticeable and measurable change in the activity and performance of the trainees when deployed?
- Would the trainee be able to transfer their knowledge to another person?
- Are the trainees aware of their change in behavior, knowledge or skill level?
The best method of assessing changes in behavior is: observations using checklists and questionnaires and interviews with the security officer or other key people who observe him. Those who work closely to the security guard must have an opinion of how professional he is when performing security procedures, his team work capabilities, motivation levels etc. the quality control system should include a direct manager’s periodic feedback. Assessments can be designed around relevant performance scenarios, and specific key performance indicators or criteria.
Measurement of behavior change is less easy to quantify and interpret than reaction and learning evaluation. Cooperation and skill of observers, typically line-managers, are important factors and difficult to control.
4. Level 4- result: business results- what is the effect on the company\ organization?
Results evaluation is the effect on the business or environment. This definition is dependent upon the goals of the training program.
Therefore it is important to identify these goals to the trainee at the beginning of training and the trainee must understand his accountability to the security process. Trainees must understand what is to going to be measured.
How do we assess the results phase?
- Use a control group for quality inspections
- Allow time for results the new information to be assimilated into the security officers routine
- Measure before and after program
- Consider costs versus benefits with the financial reports
It has been my experience from many years of security training that constant assessment and “listening” to trainees during and after training leads to a more effective and efficient process and to a better security deployment. It should be noted that the model has introduced an additional level in the past few years, associated with the ROI of the process which I have deliberately left out when writing this post. Maybe this will serve as a subject for one of my next posts.
By Mrs. Marisa Gana Amir – senior project manager – Lotan Security
Mrs. Gana served as the manager for Ben Gurion Airport’s (Tel-Aviv) security screening unit. As the unit manager, Mrs. Gana was responsible for developing, recruiting, personnel quality assessment and training the security screening staff of Ben Gurion airport. Mrs. Gana also served as a senior instructor, in charge of training security personnel starting from junior positions, to mid and senior security supervisors.