Dr John O'Connor, of Ceres Management.

Results assessment specialist Ceres Management – which aims to enable clients to use the evidence of business results to make sound decisions about ongoing investments in people development – has launched a new approach to evaluation that: defines what business success looks like; aligns evaluation goals with business needs; focuses evaluation around clear performance needs; defines success indicators, especially for behavioural outcomes, and is easy to apply and administer.


The approach – called ‘Results Assessment’ (RA) (see http://www.ceresmanagement.co.uk) and developed from the work of Brinkerhoff, Holton, Kirkpatrick and others – has been refined for L&D practitioners by Ceres Management’s Dr John O’Connor. A practitioner in the field of learning and performance improvement for over 20 years, O’Connor has a PhD in instructional design from Florida State University. He has worked internationally, with private as well as public sector clients, to design, deliver and measure high-impact learning and change initiatives.


Following the launch of RA, Ceres Management is offering partnership opportunities for organisations that are committed to high quality training evaluation practice. O’Connor explained: “HR and L&D leaders who’d welcome a fresh approach to evaluation in their organisation should contact us to be part of our partnership programme.


“Organisations should care deeply about their people and their development because a highly engaged workforce is a strong predictor of business growth,” he added.


Comment: HR and training professionals who understand the importance of evaluation but who also realise that there’s a gap between what they do and what they want to do could find the answer to this unsatisfactory state of affairs in the RA evaluation approach. It purports to prove the tangible connection between programme delivery and business results.


Existing models – notably the Kirkpatrick model – are popular but impossible to use at certain (higher) levels. Moreover, as the renowned writer and commentator Charles Jennings has said, Don and Jim Kirkpatrick’s models make no attempt to address non-course/curriculum based learning – even with Jim’s ‘turning Kirkpatrick on its head’ approach.


John O’Connor’s RA model may offer a real, practical answer. O’Connor is convinced it does and is looking for organisations to try RA for themselves. Hopefully, he’ll find some – because RA deserves its chance to prove its worth to HR professionals and main boards alike.