According to the dictionary on my computer, the word validate has three distinct meanings:
In order to be considered valid, I think that training activities must be measured in two dimensions. The first dimension is that is meets a business objective, the second is that the training delivered enables the participants to develop skills which aid the business objective.
There is a subtle difference between each of these in that the first dimension validates the existence of the training, while the second validates the effectiveness of the training delivery.
Identify the business case is easy for compliance related training- no training, no work. Developing training to improve the performance of an organisation needs careful needs analysis, and a clearly identified goal. Budgeting is also an important consideration here.
Evaluating learning can be done in many ways from happy sheets to return on investment. I find that Kirkpatrick's model can be a useful guide for measuring learning.
The validity of training is more than just meeting the learning objectives. In some organisations the L&D director takes responsibility for the business case while instructional designers evaluate their students' outcomes to improve their materials. In other organisations both of these activities are the remit of the training manager.
How do you validate training in your organisation?