How To Use Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model To Realize L&D Goals

How To Use Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model To Realize L&D Goals 

The Kirkpatrick evaluation model is nothing new for legacy L&D teams. It’s a trusted feedback model that has been in use for years. However, one recurring query arises due to mounting expenses: What is the ROI of training? And it makes sense as tracking the effectiveness of new skills and changing behavior is tricky.

It’s vital for modern-day L&D teams to re-assess learning experience meaning. Working with the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model can help draw crucial insights. Here’s a look at how the Kirkpatrick evaluation model works.

What Is The Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model?

The Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model (also known as Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training) traces the efficacy of learning at a workplace. It was coined by Donald Kirkpatrick back in the 1950s. Fast forward to 2016, the model underwent a series of updates and was renamed the “New World Kirkpatrick Model.”

Amidst a long line of consultancy fads, this is the only time-tested training evaluation model. The singular goal of this model is to emphasize the idea of workplace training and why it’s relevant to workplaces. The Kirkpatrick model has four levels: Reaction, Learning, Behaviour, and Results.

How To Use The Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model?

The Kirkpatrick model was initially created to aid corporate learning management systems. It was expected that professionals would look at people’s reactions to a specific training model. But there was a debate around the concept. 

Some felt it was a better approach to go reverse. You start at level 4 and, quickly identify the rest, and then move backward to level 3 to find out what others have done. The backward approach was a much easier way to connect the organizational goals to the training program. It doesn’t matter which way you prefer to use the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model, as it all boils down to data collection. Here’s a closer look at all the four stages: 

Reaction (Level 1) 

As the name goes, this criteria helps measure a learner’s likeability. It’s generally assessed after an after-training survey. Learners are free to choose from the following options.

  • Favorable
  • Engaging
  • Relevant

This exercise is a standard part of L&D activity. At some companies, this is called filling the “Happy Sheet.” The focus of Level 1 is generally on the learner rather than the trainer. Some of the obvious questions in Level 1 include:

  • Do you think the training program was worth your time?
  • Do you think it was a successful training? 
  • Did you enjoy the exercises?
  • Did the training match up to your personal learning style? Was it too slow or fast? 
  • Was the exercise engaging?
  • List down three memorable things you learned at the training today.

Learning (Level 2)

This is where you assess how well participants have acquired knowledge, attitude, skills, commitment, and confidence. To get vital insights from participants’ data, L&D teams conduct pre- and post-training assessments. It would be either exams or interview-style questions. 

Make sure to design a scoring system for each answer. This will help you gain accuracy and track any inconsistencies throughout the program. Time-based surveys are the best pick for pre and post-learning assessments. Most importantly, the time-based surveys can be reshared across different training groups. Thus, it becomes easy to check knowledge retention.

Behaviour (Level 3)

Level 3 of the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model measures the impact of a learning program on a participant. So, the maximum focus remains on tracking behavioral changes. It helps determine the newly acquired skills and how they are applied across workspaces. Some of the common questions to expect in Level 3 assessments include:

  • Have you tried to use the skills acquired from the training?
  • Do you think you’ll be able to pass on a skill to a team member? 
  • As a participant, are you aware of your changing behavior? What made you alert?

Such data helps identify potential areas where automation is needed. It includes sending re-engagement emails, encouraging continued participation, and honing acquired skills. 

Results (Level 4)

This is the final level where you measure the results. Here, the learning experience is matched to business outcomes. It helps L&D teams determine the change. It’s essential to decide on the KPIs beforehand. Otherwise, one would struggle to measure the ROI on learning. Some of the  common KPIs are:

  • High ROI
  • Employee retention 
  • Fewer workplace accidents 
  • Increased production
  • High morale
  • Reduced waste
  • Increased sales
  • High-quality ratings
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Reduced staff complaints

For L&D teams, the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model facilitates defining necessary goals, measuring results, and recognizing key impact areas. Besides, analyzing data at each level helps you to understand the training results. Thus, L&D teams can readjust things if need be. 

Yes, Level 4 is rather difficult to implement because the improvements in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) might not directly show the impact of the learning. They are often influenced by a single factor or a bunch of factors. So, it demands you to be careful when there are correlations.

Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model – A Powerful Way To Measure Learning Objectives

The Kirkpatrick model is a time-tested theory evaluating learning programs. For most L&D teams, it’s a practical approach and relatively easy to understand. It also helps L&D teams to become more functional. All credit goes to its tangible structure, setting up things, and evaluating the learning content. 

Both levels 1 and 2 of the Kirkpatrick model should be a part of the standard toolkit for every L&D team. In contrast, levels 3 and 4 can be customized to meet an organization’s objectives. That way, it helps draw vital insights from a range of data. At times, things can be time-consuming due to cause and effect. This could be problematic for some organizations—especially the ones without a dedicated L&D team. 

If you’ve been relying on cross-teamers to handle L&D tasks, things can be challenging, even with the Kirkpatrick model. Nevertheless, the Kirkpatrick model is a highly functional analysis. It puts organizational KPIs at the forefront. In turn, it allows L&D to deliver learning objectives with positive intent. 

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