Kirkpatrick’s Model of Training Evaluation

Organizations spend a huge amount of money for training their employees at various levels and on various competencies, behavioral and technical. Every year new tools are designed to try and cater to individual learning styles and make the training more effective. After all an organization is concerned about its spending and the return on the same!

Donald Kirkpatrick, professor emeritus, university of Wisconsin began working on evaluating the effectiveness of training very early in his life. His early work on the same was published in the year 1959 in a journal of American Society of Training Directors. He laid out four levels for evaluation of any training. This model is arguably the most widespread for evaluation in use. It is simple, very flexible and complete. The four levels as described by Kirkpatrick are as follows:

  1. Reaction of the Trainee - thoughts and feelings of the participants about the training
  2. Learning - the increase in knowledge or understanding as a result of the training
  3. Behavior - extent of change in behavior, attitude or capability
  4. Results - the effect on the bottom line of the company as a result of the training.

The fifth level which is the ROI has been recently added which is not but a part of the original model. The graphic description is as follows:

Level 4 - Results
Was it worth it ?

Level 3 - Behaviour
KSA’s being used on the Job ?

Level 2 - Knowledge
Did they learn anything ?

Level 1 - Reaction
Was the environment suitable ?

The beauty of the model is that each level can only be predicted when the lower level prediction is complete. Thus evaluation at the level of behaviour may not be useful unless evaluation at the knowledge has been completed.

Reaction

Reaction implies how favorably the participants have responded to the training. This evaluation is primarily quantitative in nature and is a feedback to the training and the trainer. The most common collection tool is the questionnaire that analyses the content, methodology, facilities and the course content.

Learning

At the level of learning the evaluation is done on the basis of change in the ASK (Attitudes, skills and knowledge) of the trainees. The evaluation involves observation and analysis of the voice, behaviour, text. Other tools used apart from the observation are interviews, surveys, pre and post tests etc.

Behaviour

Behaviour evaluation analyses the transfer of learning from the training session to the work place. Here the primary tool for evaluation is predominantly the observation. Apart from the observation, a combination of questionnaires and 360 feedbacks are also used.

Results

The results stage makes evaluations towards the bottom line of the organization. Here the definition of the results depends upon the goal of the training program. The evaluation is done by using a control group allowing certain time for the results to be achieved.

There are many other models that are unique in their own ways, nut as mentioned earlier Kirkpatrick’s Model is the one that is accepted and used widely across all industries and with wider applications.


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