The internet-based Metrics that Matter (MtM) tool enables the impact of training to be analysed through structured questions answered by training participants and their managers. Feedback can be gathered immediately after training and later, for example at monthly intervals, through automatically generated e-mails.
Organisations can monitor participants' satisfaction with training but can also gather data measuring the impact of training on business performance or comparing results against industry benchmarks.
Companies can build in their own questions to capture the data most relevant to their needs and choose from several levels of reporting - including a financial report of the return on investment in staff training from increased productivity.
MtM is being taken up by companies including BT, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Orange Nederland. Microsoft is using it to monitor its certified training partners' performance as well as encouraging them to offer it to their customers.
Microsoft training and certification manager Ram Dhaliwal said, "If you put the data in, you can get actual numbers in pound notes - the return on investment that an individual delivers after the training.
"We need to ensure the level of quality and consistency of trainers. We see a requirement for having an audit tool so we can assess our partners. Previously it has been ad hoc work and mystery shoppers."
A key benefit for businesses is being able to make a strong business case for training, put a value on it and ensure a return on investment, Dhaliwal said.
"If you are delivering training for your IT team, you want to make sure the team is more productive, and you want to see that for the money you have put in you have got the results out in pound notes. You can find out what it is worth. Training has never really had that.
"Businesses these days are learning organisations and it allows them to assess how they are learning and moving forward as an organisation. If the metrics show more skills and more productivity, it means the organisation is winning."