Kirkpatrick’s 4-level Training Evaluation Model - Part 3

Level 4: Results

Of all the levels, measuring the final results of the training is likely to be the most costly and time consuming. The biggest challenges are identifying which outcomes, benefits, or final results are most closely linked to the training, and coming up with an effective way to measure these outcomes over the long term.

Here are some outcomes to consider, depending on the objectives of your training:

Increased employee retention.

Increased production.

Higher morale.

Reduced waste.

Increased sales.

Higher quality ratings.

Increased customer satisfaction.

Fewer staff complaints.

Considerations

Although Kirkpatrick's Four-Level Training Evaluation Model is popular and widely used, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account when using the model.

One issue is that it can be time-consuming and expensive to use levels 3 or 4 of the model, so it's not practical for all organizations and situations. This is especially the case for organizations that don't have a dedicated training or human resource department, or for one-off training sessions or programs.

In a similar way, it can be expensive and resource intensive to "wire up an organization" to collect data with the sole purpose of evaluating training at levels 3 and 4. (Whether or not this is practical depends on the systems already in place within the organization.)

The model also assumes that each level's importance is greater than the last level, and that all levels are linked. For instance, it implies that Reaction is less important, ultimately, than Results, and that reactions must be positive for learning to take place. In practice, this may not be the case.

Most importantly, organizations change in many ways, and behaviors and results change depending on these, as well as on training. For example, measurable improvements in areas like retention and productivity could result from the arrival of a new boss or from a new computer system, rather than from training.

Kirkpatrick's model is great for trying to evaluate training in a "scientific" way, however, so many variables can be changing in fast-changing organizations that analysis at level 4 can be limited in usefulness.

Key Points

The Kirkpatrick Four-Level Training Evaluation Model helps trainers to measure the effectiveness of their training in an objective way. The model was originally created by Donald Kirkpatrick in 1959, and has since gone through several updates and revisions.

The Four-Levels are as follows:

Reaction.

Learning.

Behavior.

Results.

By going through and analyzing each of these four levels, you can gain a thorough understanding of how effective your training was, and how you can improve in the future.

Bear in mind that the model isn't practical in all situations, and that measuring the effectiveness of training with the model can be time-consuming and use a lot of resources.


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