The first step that any organization needs to take when considering digital marketing training is to assess 'the gap' between the current and the desired state. Where do you need to be, and how far are you away from getting there? For marketing departments, this requires a clear understanding of the changes that need to happen (covered in a previous post). It also requires an accurate assessment of the current ‘Digital IQ’ of the marketing team as it relates to these changes. This is where assessment tools come in.
When designing in-house digital marketing training programs, I work with clients to probe the current state Digital IQ of their teams by considering different dimensions:
- Knowledge: Ability of an employee to recall specific facts or general digital marketing concepts
- Interest: The specific digital marketing topics that an employee is motivated to learn about
- Confidence: Employee’s personal subjective evaluation of their own ability in digital marketing
- Comprehension: Employee’s ability to demonstrate a level of understanding of digital marketing
There are a number of assessment tools and techniques that can be used to collect this valuable data that are relatively quick and painless way for employees. Selecting and customizing an assessment tool requires an understanding of the learning goals, as well as input from a subject matter expert in digital marketing. The following is an overview of a few different assessment tools that I have used, often in combination with each other, to assess current state Digital IQ (digital marketing questions and topics are included in the examples for illustrative purposes only).
Background Knowledge Probe (Assessing Knowledge)
The purpose of this tool is to assess how familiar employees are with important terms, tools, tactics, and concepts required to be proficient in digital marketing. This probe is administered anonymously, employees self-report, and results can be tabulated and shared. It is an effective (and non-threatening) way to gather a snapshot of current state employee knowledge.
Learning Goal Matching (Assessing Interests)
The purpose of this tool is to assess the learning goals that employees have related to digital marketing and to ensure there is alignment with the training goals of the program. The tool can be administered anonymously (or not), and the results can be used to shape curriculum. It is an effective way to enable employees to input into training and for training leaders to flag areas of potential misalignment.
Self-Confidence Survey (Assessing Confidence)
The purpose of this tool is to assess an employee’s level of confidence in their own ability across different areas of digital marketing. The survey is administered anonymously and the results can be used to identify topics to potentially focus on. It is also an effective tool for employees to reflect on their own ‘current state’, and it frames the training as a way to build confidence through learning.
Multiple Choice Test (Assessing Comprehension)
The purpose of this tool is to assess the level of understanding that employees have relating to different terms, tools, tactics, and concepts. While these tests are often administered after training, they can be used as a way to baseline comprehension and identify gaps. Such tests should be administered anonymously (with results shown individually), to ensure that employees understand that their test scores are not being used for their professional performance evaluations.
If you are interested in learning more about assessment, I highly recommend the classic book Classroom Assessment Techniques (Angelo & Cross). My dog-eared copy was given to me by the best teacher I know - my Mom, who also happens to have a Masters degree in Adult Education :-) And if you are interested in conducting a digital marketing training assessment for your organization, I would love to hear from you.