Kirkpatrick's Learning Evaluation Model

The Four Levels of Learning Evaluation

Donald L Kirkpatrick, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin developed his learning evaluation model in the mid 70’s in his publication “Evaluating Training programs”. The model was developed from his earlier work published in the late 50’s.

The four levels of Kirkpatrick's evaluation model essentially measure:

  1. reaction -  the reaction of learners to the learning experience
  2. learning - the resulting increase in knowledge and/or skills
  3. behaviour - extent of behaviour change, attitude change and improved capability – the implementation of new skills in the workplace etc
  4. results - the impact on the workplace environment

Training can be a costly and time consuming option. It is vital therefore that managers and those responsible for organising training make sure that it is fit-for-purpose and achieves the intended outcomes. Often, attending training is seen as an end in itself.

The Kirkpatrick model offers a more work focussed approach to evaluation. Each level requires the evaluator to consider the evidence of learning that she requires and the most appropriate way to collect it.

There is a useful table showing the different levels of evaluation along with examples of evidence.

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