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The Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation: Maximize Training

Continu Team
One Platform for All Learning
Learning & Development
December 5, 2023

Dive into the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation, a four-level framework for assessing training effectiveness, from reaction to results.

Instructional Design Evaluation Template

Are your training programs making a real difference? It's a question every organization grapples with. You've invested time, effort, and resources into designing and delivering training, but how can you be sure it's having the desired impact?

Enter the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation - a proven, four-level framework that has been helping organizations worldwide measure the effectiveness of their training for over six decades.

This blog post will explore the Kirkpatrick Model's four levels and how they can provide valuable insights into your training programs. From gathering immediate feedback to analyzing long-term results, this model offers a comprehensive approach to evaluating training effectiveness.

But that's not all. We'll also show you how modern tools like Learning Management Systems can streamline and enhance the evaluation process.

So, whether you're an HR professional, a training manager, or a C-suite executive, read on to discover how the Kirkpatrick Model can help you ensure your training programs are not just educational but transformational.

What is the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation?

The Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation is a widely-recognized framework for assessing the effectiveness of training programs. Developed by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick in the 1950s, the model comprises four levels of evaluation, each building upon the previous one.

Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Training Evaluation

The four levels of evaluation in the Kirkpatrick Model offer a thorough and methodical approach to assessing a training program's effectiveness.

Here's how to use the four levels of Kirkpatrick's model of evaluation:

1. Reaction

The reaction level focuses on the participants' immediate responses to the training. By gauging their satisfaction and engagement, organizations can identify any issues with the training content, delivery, or environment and make necessary improvements.

2. Learning

The learning level evaluates whether the training program successfully conveyed the intended knowledge, skills, or attitudes. This helps organizations understand whether the training objectives were met and the learning experience was effective.

3. Behavior

The behavior level assesses whether the participants apply their new knowledge, skills, or attitudes in their work environment. This is crucial for determining the practical impact of the training program and identifying any barriers to applying the learning.

4. Results

The results level measures the overall impact of the training program on the organization's performance and desired outcomes for key business targets. This level is vital for understanding training ROI and it the programs aligned with the organization's strategic goals.

By incorporating four levels of evaluation, the Kirkpatrick Model offers a holistic and systematic approach to assessing training effectiveness. This enables organizations to identify areas for improvement, optimize their training initiatives, and ultimately achieve better results.

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Training Evaluation Strategies Using the Kirkpatrick Model

Creating a Kirkpatrick Model of training evaluation strategy involves planning and implementing evaluation measures across all four levels of the evaluation model.

By using the model as a template, instructional design can develop effective training evaluation strategies, such as:

  • Distribute feedback surveys or questionnaires at the end of the training session to gauge participants' satisfaction, engagement, and perceptions of the content's relevance.
  • Conduct focus group discussions or individual interviews to gather more detailed feedback about the training experience.
  • Use response technology, such as live polls or smartphone apps, to collect real-time feedback during the training.
  • Design pre-and post-training assessments or quizzes to measure the knowledge or skill gains achieved during the training program.
  • Use practical exercises or simulations during the training to evaluate participants' ability to apply their new knowledge or skills.
  • Conduct self-evaluations reviews or peer evaluations to gauge participants' perceptions of learning outcomes.
  • Develop follow-up surveys or interviews with participants, supervisors, or colleagues several weeks or months after the training to assess the application of learning in the workplace.
  • Observe participants in their work environment to directly evaluate changes in their on-the-job performance.
  • Establish performance metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) related to the training objectives and track changes in these metrics over time.
  • Analyze organizational performance data, such as productivity, sales, customer satisfaction, and employee turnover, to identify the impact of the training program.
  • Calculate training ROI by comparing the financial benefits of the training program with its costs.
  • Assess the alignment of the training program with the organization's strategic goals and evaluate its contribution to achieving these goals.

Examples of the Kirkpatrick Model in Action

In each of these examples, the Kirkpatrick Model was used to measure training effectiveness across multiple levels, providing a comprehensive understanding of training programs impact.

Customer Service Training Program in a Retail Company

Reaction: Immediately after the training, participants completed a survey rating their satisfaction with the training content, delivery, and environment. The feedback was largely positive, indicating that participants found the training engaging and relevant.

Learning: A pre-training and post-training quiz was administered to control group to assess knowledge gain. The results showed a significant increase in the participants' understanding of customer service principles and techniques.

Behavior: A few months after the first training event, mystery shoppers visited the stores to assess if employees were applying their new customer service skills. Reports showed noticeable improvements in customer interactions.

Results: The company measured customer satisfaction rates before and after the training. They found that customer satisfaction scores improved significantly following the implementation of the training program, demonstrating the program's overall effectiveness.

Leadership Development Program in a Tech Company

Reaction: Participants completed a feedback form, expressing their thoughts about the course structure, content, and facilitators. Overall, participants found the program engaging and insightful.

Learning: Participants took a leadership assessment before and after the program to measure their growth in leadership competencies. The post-training results showed clear progress in participants' leadership skills.

Behavior: Managers observed their teams and noted any changes in leadership behavior. Feedback indicated that participants used their new skills to lead their teams effectively.

Results: The company saw an increase in key performance indicators (KPIs), such as team productivity and employee engagement rates, indicating a positive impact from the leadership development program.

Safety Training in a Manufacturing Company

Reaction: Participants completed a survey after the training session. They expressed that they found the training helpful and felt more confident in their ability to maintain safety in the workplace.

Learning: A test was given before and after the training to measure participants' understanding of safety protocols. The results showed an increase in the participants' knowledge of safety procedures.

Behavior: Supervisors monitored the work floor to observe whether employees implemented the safety procedures they learned. They noted a clear improvement in the employees' adherence to safety protocols.

Results: The company noted a significant decrease in workplace accidents and safety violations following the training, indicating the program's effectiveness.

Remember, for the Kirkpatrick Model to be effective, it's crucial to plan the evaluation process before the training begins. Identify what you will measure, how you will measure it, and when you will do so at each level. This proactive approach helps ensure your training program delivers the desired business results and contributes to the organization's overall success.

An LMS to Evaluating Training Programs

A Learning Management System (LMS) like Continu can significantly streamline and enhance the process of applying the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation. Here's how:

  1. Reaction: Continu can automatically distribute surveys and feedback forms to participants immediately after a training session. This can help gauge their initial reactions to the training content, delivery, and overall experience.
  2. Learning: Continu can incorporate quizzes, tests, and interactive activities into the training content to measure the participants' understanding and retention of the material. The platform can automatically score these assessments and track individual progress, providing clear insights into the learning outcomes.
  3. Behavior: While Continu can't directly observe and measure behavior changes in the workplace, it can facilitate follow-up training sessions, reinforcement activities, and discussions that encourage the application of learned skills. Managers can use Continu to track engagement with these activities and collect feedback on behavior changes.
  4. Results: Continu's modern LMS can integrate with other systems in your organization, such as CRM or HRIS, to track and measure the impact of training on key performance indicators (KPIs). This might include sales performance, customer satisfaction scores, productivity metrics, and more.
Continu's assessments feature makes it super simple to evaluate training programs
Continu's assessments feature makes it super simple to evaluate training programs

Summing Up the Kirkpatrick Model

In this blog post, we have explored the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation, a four-level framework that enables organizations to measure the effectiveness of their training programs. We delved into each level detailing their unique focuses and evaluation strategies.

Real-world examples illuminated how the model can be implemented, while an overview of how Learning Management Systems like Continu can support and enhance this process was also provided.

With the Kirkpatrick Model and the right online training tools, organizations can measure and maximize the impact of their training initiatives.

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About the Author
Continu Team responsible for Continu's content.
Continu Team
One Platform for All Learning

Continu is the #1 modern learning platform built to help companies scale and consolidate learning. From training customers to employees, Continu is the only platform you need for all learning.