Organizational researcher, James D. Kirkpatrick, created the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model in the 1950s to assess the effectiveness of training programs. Today the model remains the most widely recognized method for evaluating these programs.
In this model he identified the following four levels of evaluation of training programs:
- Involves the participant’s thoughts and feelings about the program and their subjective analysis of its worth
- Implementation example: Use of an anonymous questionnaire following the program delivery which provides for a range of responses indicating level of satisfaction with various aspects of the training program.
- Involves analysis of what specific knowledge and skills were passed on to participants during the training program
- Implementation example: Use of specific (equivalent) pretests and posttests designed to measure the specific components of skill, knowledge or attitude which were addressed in the program and outlined in the purpose and objectives. Measure the degree of difference between performance before and after the training in order to determine level of learning.
- Involves an observable change or adjustment in a course of action, follow-up performance or behavior
- Implementation example: Observation focused on the issues addressed in the training sessions and comparison to previous measure of behavior.
- Involves an overall evaluation related back to the purpose and the deficiencies defined in the needs analysis; represents a measure of a program’s ability to reach its goals
- Implementation example : Work reports and/or performance appraisals with a focus on the identified behavior compared to similar reports before the training
Kirkpatrick, J. D. (2016). Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Training Evaluation. Alexandria, VA. Association for Talent Development Press.