The Kirkpatrick model was developed by Donald L. Kirkpatrick in 1954, a former Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin and president of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). The Kirkpatrick model is a framework used to analyze and evaluate the results of training and educational programs.
|Concept Overview||The Kirkpatrick Model, developed by Donald L. Kirkpatrick, is a widely used framework for evaluating the effectiveness of training and educational programs. The model comprises four levels, each representing a different aspect of evaluation, from immediate reactions to long-term results. It provides a structured approach to assessing the impact of training and learning initiatives.|
|Four Levels of Evaluation|| The Kirkpatrick Model consists of four distinct levels of evaluation: |
1. Level 1: Reaction: At this level, participants’ reactions and feelings about the training program are assessed. It measures satisfaction, engagement, and whether participants found the training relevant and engaging.
2. Level 2: Learning: This level evaluates the extent to which participants acquired new knowledge, skills, or competencies as a result of the training. It examines whether learning objectives were met and if participants can apply what they learned.
3. Level 3: Behavior: Level 3 assesses whether participants have translated their learning into changed behavior or performance on the job. It looks at whether new skills or knowledge are being applied in the workplace.
4. Level 4: Results: The highest level evaluates the long-term impact of training on organizational goals and outcomes. It examines the extent to which training has contributed to improved performance, productivity, and bottom-line results.
|Applications||The Kirkpatrick Model is widely applied in various fields: |
1. Training and Development: It is used by organizations to assess the effectiveness of employee training programs.
2. Education: Educational institutions use the model to evaluate the impact of teaching methods and curriculum changes.
3. Healthcare: In the medical field, it assesses the effectiveness of medical training programs.
4. Government and Nonprofits: Public and nonprofit organizations apply the model to evaluate the outcomes of educational initiatives and social programs.
|Benefits||The model offers several benefits: |
1. Systematic Evaluation: It provides a structured and systematic approach to evaluating training and learning initiatives.
2. Focus on Results: The model emphasizes the importance of measuring the impact of training on actual performance and organizational outcomes.
3. Improvement Opportunities: By identifying strengths and weaknesses at each level, organizations can make data-driven improvements to their training programs.
4. Alignment with Goals: It helps align training efforts with organizational goals and objectives.
|Challenges||Challenges in applying the Kirkpatrick Model include the need for resources and expertise to conduct evaluations at all four levels, as well as potential difficulties in measuring long-term results and attributing them solely to training. Additionally, there can be resistance to evaluations if participants perceive them as intrusive or judgmental.|
Understanding the Kirkpatrick model
Kirkpatrick’s model, which was the focus of his Ph.D. dissertation, became an influential framework for training course evaluation after his ideas were published in the United States Training and Development Journal in 1959.
The latest iteration of the model seeks to emphasize the importance of training that is relatable to an employee’s daily activities.
Today, the Kirkpatrick model is one of the most popular and recognized for determining the effectiveness of training and educational programs.
It is used to analyze any type of training – whether that be formal or informal – against four levels of criteria which are described in the next section.
The four levels of Kirkpatrick’s model
Modern interpretations of Kirkpatrick’s model believe it is prudent to start at level four and work backward to better establish desirable outcomes.
This is also to avoid a common scenario where facilitators become stuck in the first two levels and never proceed to complete the training program.
With that in mind, here are the four levels.
Level 1: Reaction
The first level determines whether students find the training material relevant, favorable, or otherwise stimulating. This is normally achieved by a so-called “smile sheet” where individuals are asked to rate their experience.
Kirkpatrick stressed that it was important to focus on questions that relate to the student’s experience of course objectives, course materials, content relevance, and the level of facilitator knowledge.
Too many businesses fixate on training outcomes and not on how the training was delivered.
Level 2: Learning
The second level is concerned with whether the student has acquired the intended knowledge, skills, attitude, or confidence after taking the course.
Before-and-after student assessments are effective here, as are examinations and comparisons to a control group.
Irrespective of the method chosen, it is important to standardize the scoring system and ensure that the method is aligned with the objectives of the training program.
Level 3: Behaviour
Crucial to measuring the true impact of a training initiative is the behavior of students. In other words, is there evidence employees are exhibiting new behavior in their positions?
Note that if an individual fails to alter their behavior post-training, this does not necessarily mean the training itself has failed.
Level 4: Results
Level 4 is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.
Here, the effectiveness of the training program is measured against organizational KPIs that may relate to fewer workplace incidents, increased sales, or more favorable employee morale, for example.
Determining the actual impact of training on these KPIs can be difficult – despite them being the impetus for the training program in the first place.
Like the methods seen in phase two for employees, control groups and before-and-after assessments can also be worthwhile for broader organizational objectives.
- The Kirkpatrick model is a framework used to analyze and evaluate the results of training and educational programs. The Kirkpatrick model was developed by Donald L. Kirkpatrick and has been revised several times since 1954.
- The Kirkpatrick model is one of the most popular and recognized for determining the effectiveness of formal and informal training and educational programs.
- The Kirkpatrick model features four criteria, or levels: reaction, behavior, learning, and results. To design training programs with more optimal outcomes and ensure the initiative is seen through to completion, it is recommended that facilitators start at level 4 and work backward.
- Development and Evolution: The Kirkpatrick model was developed by Donald L. Kirkpatrick in 1954 and has since been revised several times. His son James and wife Wendy contributed to the model’s revisions after Donald’s passing in 2014.
- Training Evaluation Framework: The Kirkpatrick model is a widely used framework for analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of training and educational programs.
- Four Levels of Evaluation:
- Level 1 – Reaction: This level focuses on students’ initial reactions to the training material. It assesses whether participants find the training relevant, engaging, and stimulating. Feedback is often collected through “smile sheets” or surveys.
- Level 2 – Learning: This level determines whether participants have acquired the intended knowledge, skills, attitude, or confidence after completing the training. Assessments, examinations, and comparisons to control groups are used to measure learning outcomes.
- Level 3 – Behavior: Measuring the impact of training on participants’ behavior is the focus of this level. It examines whether employees are exhibiting new behaviors in their roles. The model also considers factors like drivers (reward systems) that encourage desired behavior changes.
- Level 4 – Results: The ultimate level measures the effectiveness of the training against organizational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These results could relate to improved employee morale, reduced workplace incidents, increased sales, etc. Determining the direct impact on these KPIs can be challenging.
- Reverse Approach for Optimal Outcomes: To ensure successful training programs, it’s recommended to start evaluating at Level 4 (Results) and work backward through Levels 3, 2, and 1. This approach helps in establishing desirable outcomes and preventing stagnation in the early levels.
- Applicability: The Kirkpatrick model can be applied to both formal and informal training initiatives. It is used to assess the effectiveness of various training programs in diverse organizational settings.
- Importance of Relatable Training: The latest iteration of the model emphasizes the importance of making training content relatable to employees’ daily activities, ensuring practical application of the acquired knowledge.
- Common Pitfall Avoidance: The model encourages avoiding the common scenario where evaluators focus too much on the first two levels and fail to proceed with the complete training evaluation process.
- Business Impact Assessment: The model helps organizations assess the impact of training on broader business objectives and outcomes, linking training investments to tangible results like ROI.
- Recognized Framework: The Kirkpatrick model is widely recognized and adopted in the field of training evaluation, making it one of the most popular frameworks for assessing training effectiveness.
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