Kirkpatrick’s model is defined as a process for analyzing training programs and later evaluating them to ensure proficient on-the-job performance. It was developed in the year 1955 by Donald Kirkpatrick and hence the name. Later his son carried on with the research to hone it in a better frame.
The methodology includes determining the reaction of a learner to the training process, his success in acquiring skills, how the skill acquisition affects the workplace behavior and the measurable results that occurred because of it.
What is Kirkpatricks model?
Kirkpatrick’s model is actually a four-level model used as a training evaluation process that helps to analyze the impact of training in an objective manner. Offering training in an organization is both a time-consuming as well as expensive act and it is important that the form knows whether they are being successful in their endeavors. Is the offered training effective, have the trainees understood it properly and are they now fully prepared to implement the said training on practical grounds?
Kirkpatrick’s model is a handy tool that explores how well is a trainee trained and how to improve it in the future to get the maximum possible benefit from it. It is composed of four different levels and the key lies in using it to gain the best leverage.
The basic instinct of a person is to use the model linearly but it is considered the wrong one. The best method is to go about in a reverse manner and start at level four and gradually come to level one. This will help you to identify the results that you are trying to accomplish and then move backward by understanding what needs to be done to achieve those results and so on. It now is easier to connect with the actual training process and work towards attaining it.
Four levels of Kirkpatricks model
The four levels of Kirkpatrick’s model are as follows
The first level of Kirkpatrick’s model is the reaction and the objective is to evaluate the reaction of an individual to the training model. In order to establish the thoughts of a trainee, you will need to ask some related questions like
- Did you find the training worthwhile?
- Was it a successful venture?
- Did you like the training style?
- What were the strengths and limitations of the training program?
- Did you like the venue?
- What was the level of participation?
- Was the training engaging?
- What are the important things you learned from this training process?
- Will you be able to implement in your workplace?
It is important to understand how well the training process has been received by the trainees so that you can make changes and improvements for its betterment. Keep an eye on engagement and relevance.
Examples of techniques and assessment resources at this level are –
- Online assessment
- Smile sheets
- Oral or printed reports
- Post-training questionnaires
- Verbal responses
- It is considered easy to complete and is also not expensive
- You will be able to get immediate feedback about the training event
- Helps to get a feel about the actual feeling of a trainee for the training process
- Offers information about particular aspects of the training method
- This information can be used to make improvements for future versions
- Helps to identify the missing topics from the program
- Is a quick reading of the trainees while they are still in the training program
- The result cannot be a solid base for making changes in the strategy or training process as it is an ongoing process that needs to be completed before you can attempt any such thing
The level two of Kirkpatrick’s model is learning and this step puts its focus on measuring what the trainees have actually learned or simply not learned. It also understands the confidence level of the trainee and is it motivated enough to make credible changes.
The level indicates how the training has helped to develop the knowledge, skill, commitment, confidence, and attitude of the participant.
Questions related to this level are
- Was the trainee able to learn what was meant to be taught?
- Did he experience whatever the program meant him to experience?
- Was there a change in the trainee in the area meant to have happened after the training?
Examples of techniques and assessment resources at this level are
- Measuring and evaluating the process at this level is still simple and easy
- You can take the help of a control group for suitable comparisons
- Assessments, interviews, and exams after the training
- A scoring process to avoid inconsistent evaluation report
- An interview can be carried out both after and before the assessment
- Observation by instructors and peers
- Offers an opportunity to demonstrate the participant’s learning transfer
- Helps to identify the gap between target and actual learning
- The feedback from this level is more objective compared with the first level evaluation
- Helps to quantify the amount of learning
- Gives an idea about the effectiveness of the training proves in a more conclusive manner
- The information derived is used to improve future programs
- Needs more money and time than the level one
- Needs a better insight into the evaluation process for creating valid measures of training and learning
The third level of Kirkpatrick’s model deals in behavioral changes especially the behavior at the workplace after the trainee has undergone the program. It is an important point to note that positive changes are dependent upon the training program and also favorable conditions at the workplace.
After assessing the changes it becomes possible to understand the usefulness of the program. Develop a process that has the power to reinforce and reward positivity in thinking and behavior.
Questions related to this level are
- Has the performance metric of a participant increased in the manner tied to the training program?
- Is a participant able to showcase his learned skill to others in a convincing manner?
- Has he put his training to use?
- Are the employees who participated in the training program aware of the changes that have occurred in their behaviour?
Examples of techniques and assessment resources at this level are
- Interviews and observations
- Subtle evaluations until the change are actually noticed
- Surveys to evaluate the importance and significance of the change
- Online evaluations and examinations
- Acts as a measuring tool to record the changes that have occurred in terms of actual behavior at the workplace
- Identifies the gap between training and performance
- Shows the willingness of a firm to change
- Helps the firm to understand the strength and weakness of its training process
- Helps to identify the successful trainees
- Creates opportunities for the participants that have not yet grasped the concept
- Requires more money and time than level one and two
- Needs to get more insight to understand performance deficiency
The success of a training program is actually evaluated by knowing whether it has delivered tangible results or not. In simple terms, you have to meet your bottom line to say that the program has been a successful endeavour.
The last level of Kirkpatrick’s model helps to analyze the end results of the training program and is often considered as the acid test. Hard data like quality metrics, profit, cost, and sales are used to improve development and training programs in the future.
Types of techniques and assessment resources at this level are
- Using a control group
- Discussion with the trainee beforehand to make it clear what are the things that will be measured during and after the process so that he can know what to expect and grasp the changes fully with both hands
- Offering reasonable time for evaluating
- Yearly evaluations for senior individuals
- Depicts the goal of the training process
- Aligns business goals and objectives
- Shows the importance of training in terms of monetary worth
- It is a time-consuming as well as an expensive level
- It is considered the most difficult as well as the most important level of evaluation in Kirkpatrick’s model
- It is a challenge to identify and align relevant measures with end results
Advantages of Kirkpatricks model
The advantages of Kirkpatrick’s model are as follows-
- It is considered a reliable approach for evaluation
- Has been a handy tool for training interventions
- Helps to estimate returns of programs and financial contributions
Disadvantages of Kirkpatricks model
The disadvantages of Kirkpatrick’s model are as follows-
- It is an intimidating process
- It is perceived as a time-consuming as well as expensive
- Cannot be used as a basis for change while the process is ongoing
Steps to determine ROE or return on expectations
All the training related business processes must have a clear-cut idea about where it is heading, its outcome and will the process deliver as per its potential. It is important to establish realistic expectations and goals in the beginning and one way to do so is with the help of Kirkpatrick’s model. Follow the steps to ensure a satisfactory assessment of a training program
1. Putting the onus on a mission of the organization
The mission of an organization is to reach the end result in the best possible manner. Align the training program with organizational mission and frame your steps in a manner where the program will contribute towards reaching the end goal productively.
2. Identifying leading indicators
The short-term metrics are also known as leading indicators and they help to understand whether the firm is moving in the right direction. Some important indicators include figures related to customer satisfaction, employee retention and quality ratings of goods and services.
It is vital to put your onus on these indicators to understand and demonstrate how the training program has a direct influence on employee actions.
3. Defining critical behavior
It is vital to understand and determine which critical behavior of an employee must be measured. Take a survey to determine the actual problem and then try to hone on the critical behavior for the best results.
4. Figuring out required drivers
After determining the critical behavior that needs to be worked upon the next step involves figuring out the required drivers that can nudge employee actions in the correct direction.
5. Design learning
It is time to design a streamlined training program for the employees. Find the right tools and learning materials that are customized so that every employee receives the exact type of assistance that he actually needs.
6. Monitoring and making adjustments
Even if you have created the best training program it will need regular monitoring and adjustments to cope with the changing needs. Keep an eye on the performance metrics so that you can gain access to any warning signs and make suitable changes. Be vigilant and willing in your efforts to determine ROE