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Those responsible for training delivery understand the value of measuring training effectiveness. Without a formal assessment of training effectiveness, you cannot ascertain the return on investment of your training spend. In this blog, I outline how you can use the Kirkpatrick’s model of training evaluation as a model to measure training effectiveness and impact. I will also show you how this can be further used to determine your Return On Investment (ROI).
This model was created by Donald Kirkpatrick in 1959, and is one of the most commonly used training evaluation models in the world. Featuring four levels, it covers the entire spectrum of parameters from learner reaction to the desired business impact.
The model underwent two revisions, first in 1975 and again in 1994, and now features the following four levels:
Level 1: Reaction
Level 2: Learning
Level 3: Behaviour
Level 4: Impact
The traditional view of the model was as a pyramid as shown here.
This is now changing to a “chain of evidence” format where the four levels connect sequentially.
We will look at each level in further detail and focus on:
Objective: This level is used to determine the baseline or learner reaction. It is vital to understand if learners liked the training, and found it relevant, useful and easy to apply.
From an evaluation perspective, this feedback allows L&D teams to assess if further improvements are warranted and if any gaps needed filling.
Objective: This level is used to determine what was learned. The key focus is to see results (knowledge gain) that are directly attributable to the training.
L&D teams begin the exercise with a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and then arrive at the learning objectives. The required gain would be an increase in knowledge, skills or a specific behavioural change.
From an evaluation perspective, this feedback allows L&D teams to measure how close they are to meeting their mandate (knowledge gain, new skill acquisition, higher proficiency in a skill or a required behavioural change).
Pointers from this evaluation determine the future course, signposting further training necessity or the need for performance support intervention (through the use of Performance Support Tools or job-aids that offer just-in-time training within the learner’s workflow.)
Sometimes there may be a need to provide non-training-based support like mentoring or coaching to achieve the mandate.
Objective: This level is used to evaluate how learner behaviour has changed because of the training.
From an evaluation perspective, we are now validating how learners “apply” the learning they’ve absorbed from the training.
This is a tricky one, and you will often find that while learners may have learnt, there is no remarkable change in behaviour as the acquired knowledge is not yet applied. It is important to ascertain why is this not happening and then proceed with creating the right environment for learners to apply their learning.
Again, a reassessment to identify the necessity of any reinforcement or remediation support is necessary. Sometimes, polling learner performance after a certain period may provide the required insight on the change in behaviour.
Objective: This level is used to evaluate the result or impact of the training.
From an evaluation perspective, this should map to the desired gain that business had sought.
How can you use Kirkpatrick’s model of training evaluation to measure ROI?
ROI determination helps assess if the gain from the training (business impact) is more than the cost incurred (including training development, delivery and measurement costs).
I hope this blog gives you a good overview of how you can use Kirkpatrick’s model of training evaluation to assess the effectiveness of your training. More significantly, I hope it gives you the pointers you need on how the results of measurement at each level can enhance your strategy till you reach your program and business goals.
Do contact me if you have any queries.
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