How to Measure the Benefits of Training Evaluation

The Kirkpatrick Model

Donald Kirkpatrick was a firm believer of starting at the end. Creator of the internationally recognised Kirkpatrick Model, he said it is essential that L&D knows what it wants to achieve training-wise before embarking on the design and delivery process.

In essence, with Kirkpatrick, the evaluation process has to start before you have even begun the training. You have to know what you want to achieve, where you are now and the steps in between. After all, if you don’t truly understand what you are working towards and what you want the training to accomplish, you are unlikely to achieve it. 

Identifying and communicating the training goals and terms at the outset means that all the stakeholders – L&D, the learner, line managers, the business – know what to expect and what to work towards. Everyone understands the desired objectives and the required steps to get there.

Also central to the Kirkpatrick Model are the four levels of training evaluation, all of which were recently updated in 2010 to create The New World Kirkpatrick Model, and they include: 

Level 1: Reaction

This level is all about how satisfied the learner is with their training. This tends to come down to the degree of their engagement and how relevant the training is and whether they'll have the opportunity to apply what they've learned in training to their role. 

Typically, learners are given a questionnaire to complete, with a set of questions about their perception of the training.

Level 2: Learning

This level is an assessment of what has or hasn’t been learned as a result of the training, taking place during the actual course of the training.

Generally, the level of learning is evaluated by assessment (i.e. tests or quizzes) and covers the degree to which learners feel they can apply their knowledge, skills, attitude, confidence, and commitment to training and whether they'll be able to transfer their learning to their job. 

Level 3: Behaviour

This part of the evaluation process usually takes place after the training has been completed because it’s to do with behaviour change - something that needs to be observed over time. 

It often takes place three to six months after the training and looks to answer questions such as:

  • Are the new skills being applied effectively?
  • Has there been a positive change in attitude? 
  • Has the knowledge been effectively transferred from training?

And so on.

In order to get through this level successfully, processes need to be in place to reinforce, encourage and reward the performance of crucial on-the-job behaviours. 

Level 4: Results

This last level focuses solely on the training results.

Short-term observations and measurements are conducted to ensure that the necessary behaviours are reflected in the workplace to create a positive impact and desired results (including KPIs). 

Questions to consider include: 

  • What happened as a result of the training?
  • Were the KPIs met?
  • Were the end goals achieved?

For maximum impact and results, however, The New World Kirkpatrick Model should be implemented in alignment with the Kirkpatrick Foundational Principles.

people at desk

Measuring the effectiveness of training through the Kirkpatrick Model enables L&D to establish how successful training is, what’s working and what isn’t. The benefit to this is that it helps L&D determine if training interventions are achieving the desired results, through proper evaluation and data collection.

To add, when you have that evaluation data, you have clear, evidence-based results to feedback to your business stakeholders. If you can show that a particular training intervention has achieved its KPIs and is helping the business to achieve its KPIs as a result, that will leave you in good standing for negotiating future training programmes and processes.

This is not only great for L&D but also great for business. 

DPG are the exclusive providers of the Kirkpatrick Certification in the UK. By offering both open, online and in-house programmes, you can effectively bridge the gap between Learning and Development and business performance.

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