Training Evaluation – Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels

Your key stakeholders want to know how you plan to make sure your training program works for your organizational change initiative.  They want to know, “what’s your plan to evaluate the current training in place and the future needs?”

Employee training is a component of most organizational change initiatives.  Whether it is technical training for a new software rollout or job training for new processes from an organizational redesign, change management professionals play a role in identifying, developing, executing and evaluating training programs.

The most foundational of all of the training evaluation models is Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training evaluations.  Developed in the 1950s by Dr. Don Kirkpatrick, the model helps us determine effectiveness based on four distinct levels:

1. Reaction – To what extent did learners view the training favorably?  Were they satisfied?  Was it relevant and engaging?

2. Learning – How much relevant knowledge did the learners retain?  Do they feel like they can and will use what they learned on the job?

3. Behavior – To what degree did learners actually apply the knowledge to their jobs?  Were the right reinforcing drivers in place to encourage them to continue using the learnings?

4. Results – What level of outcomes occurred as a result of the training and reinforcements?  What are some short-term measurements?

By using the Kirkpatrick levels you can develop a strategic approach to training evaluation.  Remember to keep the end goal in mind, and make sure that goal is aligned with the expectations of the project and your key stakeholders.