When training is conducted, the trainers and the team want to assess the effectiveness of the training session, whether they absorbed the information accurately, whether they are putting it into practice and whether their organizations are benefiting from the application of the concepts learned during the training process.
Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model enables training teams and trainers to objectively analyze the effectiveness of the sessions they conduct. It can also be used by organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of the training sessions they have outsourced for their employees. This will allow them to assess the learning to gauge the next step of training and whether the outsourced training team is the right fit for the organization.
The first version of the Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation Model was developed by Donald Kirkpatrick in 1953 and updated multiple times to arrive at the Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model in 2016. The four levels included in this model are Reaction, Learning, Behavior and Results.
It is important to gauge the interest and reaction of the audience in the training session in order to decide how valuable it was to them. The trainer must note their interest, their engagement and contributions in order to do so. This helps in keeping the session updated and consistently improve its effectiveness by noting the topics that were redundant and the possible discussion points that can be incorporated.
The Learning level evaluates what the trainees have learnt and what they have not, how the learning gives them tools to perform tasks differently, how confident they are that they can apply what they have learned and how motivated they are to apply the learning at the workplace. The Learning component is measured once before the training session and once after the completion of the session in order the measure the difference in knowledge, skill and competency levels.
The third level, Behavior, evaluates how well the learning is being applied. It can assess the where the trainees may need help in case further training is scheduled in the same area of learning. When there is low level of application of the learning, it does not directly translate to ineffectiveness of the training program.
Behavior changes only when conditions are favorable. Hence, the environment at the workplace must be favorable to make changes in process and effectively apply the learning. The fourth level, Results, is dedicated to measuring the results that the training program has given the organization. It involves measuring the ROI for the organization, benefits to the employees and the organization. It is the level that consumes the most amount of time since these variables must be mapped to the training and then measured as accurately as possible to gauge their relationship to the effectiveness of the training solely.
The Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model enables trainers and organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of a training program from the learning to the application at the workplace. It helps them in improving the sessions, identifying the learning gaps in their organization and invest efforts into changing the organization culture in order accommodate the application of the new knowledge skills and competencies. Most modern organizations map the results and chose the training sessions based on the required outcome.