How to Evaluate a Training Programme Using the Kirkpatrick Method

Evaluating the effectiveness of training in the workplace can be tricky, however, with the New World Kirkpatrick Model your evaluation can be made that much easier.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, the Kirkpatrick Model is a tried and tested methodology, used by thousands of learning and development professionals all over the world throughout the past seven decades to evaluate the effectiveness of their workplace training and education programmes.

If you, too, want to learn how to implement the Kirkpatrick method in your organisation, below we give you an overview on how to get started.


How do I build an effective training evaluation programme?

To build an effective evaluation programme, you’re first going to want to identify your organisation’s training needs. In particular, you’ll want to look for any skills gaps and make time to fill those gaps during training.
From there, you’ll need to pinpoint the learning objectives you want to achieve through training (for both individuals and the business) and design a programme that will keep learners motivated and engaged throughout. Consider how the training will be delivered - be it online, face-to-face, or via blended learning - and schedule it accordingly.

By the end of the training, employees should be able to execute their newly acquired knowledge and skills and apply them to their roles. This should, in turn, translate to having a positive impact on the varying levels of the business and, ultimately, a positive impact on its bottom line.

How do I evaluate my training?

Knowing how to evaluate a training programme is, of course, imperative to evaluating training effectiveness - and this is where the Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation model comes in.

To give you some insight, the Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Programme allows you to become Kirkpatrick certified at three varying levels - Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Each of these levels operates under four levels of evaluation - all of which are reinforced by the Kirkpatrick Foundational Principles. These evaluation levels are:

Level 1: Reaction
This level is where you can determine how valuable and relevant the training you’re delivering is. This can be measured by how engaged learners are and how active and eager they are to participate. In other words, how they’re reacting to the training material.

Learners also tend to be given a questionnaire or survey to provide feedback on training at this level. These typically help to point out where there’s room for improvement within the current programme, allowing for refinement in the future.

Questions for employees to consider include:

Did you feel the training was worth your time?
What activities did you find engaging?
Do you feel the training will translate to your role?

Level 2: Learning
This level focuses on measuring what employees have learned during training, how they’ll apply the acquired knowledge and skills, and how confident and committed they are to changing their tactics on the job. Essentially, this level demonstrates how they’ve developed during training.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that to measure just how much employees have learned, you’ll need to identify exactly what it is you want to evaluate prior to training. To this end, each training session should have specific learning objectives that can be measured in different ways.

For the best results, testing employee knowledge and skills (i.e. through interviews or assignments) prior to training and then a second time afterward is a great idea.

Level 3: Behaviour
Evaluation at this level will often happen post-training as behaviour change needs to be observed over a period of time - say, six months, for instance - if you want to be sure training and the necessary workplace changes have been applied.

To complete this level successfully, management needs to encourage, reinforce, and reward positive behaviour changes - these are what the Kirkpatrick Model calls ‘required drivers’. Without these drivers, there’s little room to apply new skills and practices and your training programme will be deemed ineffective.

To avoid this, carefully monitor organisational and team culture to ensure that there’s a chance for employees to apply their learning and share what they know.

Level 4: Results
This level is the toughest of the four levels as it focuses specifically on results. The biggest challenge here will be determining whether the training was a valuable return on investment (ROI).

This can be measured by circling back to the initial objectives laid out prior to the beginning of training and identifying what has been achieved since then. What are the outcomes? How has the business benefitted? Has training positively affected KPIs?

It’s these short-term observations and measurements that will tell you whether the necessary action has been taken to achieve the desired results.

How do I become Kirkpatrick certified?

The first step to becoming Kirkpatrick certified is signing up for the Kirkpatrick Bronze Level programme with us!

As the exclusive UK provider of Kirkpatrick programmes, we’ll help you gain an in-depth understanding of each of the four levels of evaluation so that you can effectively upskill employees and maximise business results.

Sessions are interactive, practical and hands-on, and you’ll have the opportunity to be evaluated on your own individual training plan all while receiving around-the-clock support.

Once you’ve completed the Bronze Level Certification, you can continue on to study the Silver Level Certification, if you so choose, which will teach you how to successfully execute and report on results while engaging with stakeholders.

Silver Certified individuals can then become Gold Certified by presenting a programme evaluation process in a way that helps other L&D or business professionals in their roles.

We hope this overview of the Kirkpatrick method will motivate you to become Kirkpatrick certified so that you can better evaluate your own training programmes and come to exceed your career goals. 

Learn more about how to restructure your training and evaluation strategy for ultimate success.