At the end of the training, offer some sort of assessment to gauge the retention of the students. This can be done before or after the post-training test. This mostly is in the form of a quiz or test, but other avenues are being generated every day, with gamification using badges and points being the most commonly used method today.
Assessing the knowledge after training, whether it is at the end, the next day, or sometime after, allows you to know if and how much they are actually learning. If the majority of the trainees fail the post-training test, it’s time to level up the training to make it more effectual.
One word of caution, though – DON’T MAKE THE TESTING EASY. It does no good for you, your program, or the trainee to have easy questions lobbed at them. If we are going to test our program out, we need to make sure the test is reliable.
You can make the assessment a graded quiz, an essay (if you want them to hate you), or a hands-on practicum. Whichever way you choose, make it reasonable, yet challenging. When I designed the post-training test for the Automotive Lift Operations and Safety course, I had master-level technicians tell me that I even challenged their knowledge. That was exactly where I wanted my tests to be.
You get to choose the level of severity on the assessment, but I would weigh it against the level of skill the position has. For highly-skilled positions, I make the test very difficult and lengthy, and the passing rate is 90%, while a non-skilled position (that doesn’t involve safety or legal), I make the assessment easier and shorter (but not too easy) and the passing grade is 80%.