Training Evaluation and Kirkpatricks Level Model
Kirkpatricks's Four Level Training Evaluation Model
Donald Kirkpatrick's originally published his ideas of learning evaluation in 1959. His book “Evaluating Training Programs” 1994 defined his theories more clearly so that his 4 levels theory’s of criteria or impact is now considered an industry standard across the HR and training communities.
More recently Don Kirkpatrick formed his own company, Kirkpatrick Partners, whose website provides information about their services and methods, etc
An additional level Return on Investment (ROI) (see Dr Jack Phillips) has been added as a optional 5th level to this training evaluation model.
The ROI of a learning initiative is a factor of its costs and the quantified business benefits.
ROI = Costs - Benefits/Costs x 100
There is a causal relationship between the levels as a good reaction is more likely to lead to better learning, without learning their can be no application on the job, no application on the job means no business impact.
Levels 1 and 2 but how useful is this?
Are we guilty of doing what we have always done or doing what is easy as opposed to what is right?
It is hard to justify a training evaluation approach that appears to ignore the potential needs of stakeholders.
More on developing an outcome focus using instructional design
Check out this introductory video on training evaluation and Kirkpatrick's levels
How Can You Use Kirkpatrick’s Model?
One straightforward approach to incorporating business objectives into training and its evaluation is presented by Dyer, who proposes that Kirkpatrick's levels of training evaluation be mirrored, to ask the questions shown in the diagram at the design stage of a training intervention:
The levels are used to understand needs and objectives in the design stage which are translated into a more robust programme with its evaluation already built in.
Having delivered the training, the training evaluation process is achieved by following Kirkpatrick's model in the normal fashion.
Did the trainees like and enjoy the training?
Did they consider the training relevant?
Was it a good use of their time?
Did they like the venue, the style, timing, domestics, etc?
Level of participation.
Ease and comfort of experience.
Level of effort required to make the most of the learning.
Typically 'happy sheets'.
Feedback forms based on subjective personal reaction to the training experience.
Important to know that people were not upset or disappointed
Can be done immediately the training ends.
Very easy to obtain reaction feedback
Feedback is not expensive to gather or to analyse for groups.
Did the trainees learn what was intended in the learning outcomes?
Typically assessments or tests before and after the training.
Can include trainer observation in role plays and activities
Can include development of action plans
Relatively simple to set up, but more investment and thought required than reaction evaluation.
Is easier for training with clear business outcomes like cost savings, service and efficiencies
Less easy for more complex learning such as attitudinal development,.
Did the trainees apply their learning when back on the job?
Was there noticeable and measurable change in the activity and performance of the trainees when back in their roles?
Was the change in behaviour and new level of knowledge sustained?
Is the trainee aware of their change in behaviour, knowledge, skill level?
Collect data from trainee and their manager and if necessary co-workers
Take the most conservative data to build credibility in evaluation
Review implementation of action plans
Behaviour change is measurement is more difficult to evaluate and interpret than reaction and learning data
Cooperation and skill of observers, typically line-managers, are important factors, and difficult to control.
Needs to be built in up front
Measures would typically be business or organisational key performance indicators, such as:
Many of these measures are probably already in place
The challenge is to identify which measures and how they relate to the trainee's input and influence and when to measure .
Important to agree expectations and measures up front with trainees
Assessing individual results can be achieved without too much difficulty
Survey techniques can be used where no other data is available
Assessing large numbers across the organisation is more costly and complicated.
If things improved how do you it was due to the training and not something else?
How to isolate the affects of the learning event from other business changes is also a challenge.
More on training needs analysis here
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