What’s the best way to document that training has taken place?

Posted by John Kleeman

I thought readers of this blog might enjoy seeing a copy of my article recently published in Compliance & Ethics Professional Magazine July/August 2012. You can see a reprint of the article here.

Compliance & Ethics Professional is a journal published by the non-profit SCCE (Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics) which is dedicated to improving the quality of corporate governance, compliance and ethics. Their website at www.corporatecompliance.org has lots of compliance resources.Compliance & Ethics Professional

The article suggests there are three ways to document training:

  • Have the instructor take attendance
  • Get employees signatures confirming they have understood the training
  • Administer a test after training so that employees can demonstrate understanding

Taking attendance is simple and easy to do, but it documents attendance and not understanding. It’s common for people to start training and drift off, either in person or just in their head. Taking attendance doesn’t help here.

Getting people to sign that they understood the training takes things one step further, but in many corporate cultures, people may well sign just to get the compliance requirement out of the way, without fully understanding the training. And even if they mean well, thinking you know something and actually knowing it are not always the same.

Giving a test to confirm understanding of training takes a bit more effort. But it has the huge advantage that you are not just checking that the employee was present in the training. Nor are you just checking that the employee thought or claimed they understood the training. You are getting firm evidence that the training was understood.

The article argues that giving a test after training is the best way to document training, and much more reliable for compliance purposes than the other two methods. If you are interested in reading the full article, it’s available here.

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