Project leaders examined three data sources to determine the impact of basic skills training on the 409 employees who participated in the project. The assessment focused on two areas. First, how would the training influence the employees at work? Second, what impact would the training have away from the work setting? Employees were asked to complete pre and post-training self-assessments that addressed both questions. Supervisors were asked to assess changes in employee work behavior before and after the training. The NCES trainers were asked to record observable changes in employee behavior as the training progressed.
Employees and supervisors both noted improvements in employee performance at work. The primary gains identified by employees were in their confidence, thinking skills, interest in learning, and ability to work and communicate together. For example, 83% of employees surveyed indicated their interest in learning had increased, 69% of employees reported improvements in their reading ability, and 63% of employees reported improvement in math. Fifteen supervisors completed pre and post-training assessments. Thirteen supervisors reported employees were more accurate in their job duties making fewer mistakes.
Seven trainers observed the participants during the training. Each trainer was asked to record behaviors related to improved performance and interest in learning. Trainers observed changes in the employees' ability to think. Improvement in teaming and interpersonal skills was identified. Employee interest and ability to learn as well as improved self-esteem were also evident to the trainers.
Perhaps the greatest gain at the workplace was in the employees' confidence and self-esteem. This translated into employees who showed more initiative and cooperation. All three groups cited improvement in the employees' interest and capacity for learning. In effect, learning became contagious. As employees progressed through the training they became more interested in learning. This is a significant finding considering the importance of continuous learning and improvement needed in learning organizations. A number of the managers and executives with the participating companies noted the importance of this finding. Managers want employees who have the capacity to grow with the organization. The employee who develops an enthusiasm for learning is more likely to adapt and change with the organization.
Employees were also asked to comment on the impact the training had away from work. The participants made numerous comments indicating they were more confident in everyday activities such as balancing a checkbook, written communications, and solving problems. A major benefit identified by numerous employees was they could now assist their children with homework assignments. For example, numerous participants commented the training had "helped me help my child without guessing." This benefit/result is consistent with other studies on the value of basic skills training.