6 articles about unpacking the New World Kirkpatrick Model and we finally come to the evaluation piece and how to demonstrate the value to the organisation and your key stakeholders.


If you are not familiar with them here are the definitions of the Kirkpatrick Four levels:

  • Level 4, Results – The degree to which targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training and the support and accountability package
  • Level 3, Behaviour – The degree to which participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job
  • Level 2, Learning – The degree to which participants acquire the intended, knowledge, skills, attitude, confidence and commitment based on their participation in the  training
  • Level 1, Reaction – The degree to which participants find the training
    favourable, engaging and relevant to their jobs

In using the four levels as we evaluate, we are seeking to show how any learning has contributed to the outcomes the organisation and our key stakeholders are seeking. The learning itself will only be one of the elements that creates performance in the workplace, so what we are trying to do is show the connections from the learning to the performance and the results. In our evaluation we are going to look at how we can get the information that we need to ensure we can improve our programs, this is levels 1 & 2 and also what our stakeholders would want to see, the performance and results in the workplace, levels 3 & 4 and to show the connections between them.

For far too long people have been looking at the Kirkpatrick levels and starting at level 1 and aiming for level 4 and only getting as far as level 2 if they are lucky.  If you have been following this series of articles, you will know that we actually start by looking with the end in mind, the ultimate level 4 results. We must connect the dots from the learning all the way through level 3 and to the level 4 results if we are really to succeed as learning and performance professionals.
At Level 1 & 2 we are seeking to ensure that we have done everything we can to have participants perform better when they are back at work. At level 1, we are checking to make sure the learning itself was relevant to their roles, that they were engaged in the learning and the participants were satisfied. If these are positive, they are more likely to learn. At level 2, we are evaluating the skills and knowledge they need to perform on the job. But we also want to know if they believe it’s worthwhile applying the learning (attitude), and whether they have gained the confidence to apply and believe they really want to apply, their commitment. If all of these are positive, we are giving them the best chance of success when they get back to the workplace. However, as we know this is no guarantee performance will actually occur (see article 3). If we have followed the design process from the last articles (see articles 1-6), your evaluation planning becomes much simpler. You know what your key stakeholders are expecting to see, and you have already identified measures that align to these. At level 4 you are monitoring these results, the metrics that will move if people are performing well on the job. However, the results will only come if you get the critical behaviours happening and therefore it is Level 3 where we need to concentrate, it’s the bullseye of the New World Model. Hit this, and we are on track for results to occur. Capture not only the quantitative data but also look for the stories that tell you what’s happening. These will have the power
with your stakeholders when you provide them with the results. All going to plan you will obtain results that are going well and we learn from these, but often you will find they aren’t necessarily going the right way. So, what to do? well that’s the topic of the next article on Adjusting.

Here are just a few of my favourite tips to effective evaluation

  • Create a robust plan to your evaluation and follow it through – use the Kirkpatrick Evaluation planning template to make this easy. if you have been on the Kirkpatrick Bronze certification program you will know about this one!
  • To create the plan, first create partnerships with the organisation so they buy in to the evaluation and want to be a part of it – do this in the design phase
  • Spend your resource wisely and only evaluate to the extent you really need to. Don’t end up with a pile of “smile sheets” under your desk that no one ever refers to
  • Move away from the love affair with level 1 reaction and level 2 learning and start a new affair with level 3 performance
  • Your key stakeholders are interested in levels 3 & 4 find ways to spend your time here
  • Probably the most misunderstood of the levels is in fact the easiest to measure, level 4. Look to use metrics that are already in the organisation, don’t re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to.

For more information and any help with implementing an evaluation framework please reach out to us

Subscribe and get updates to The Learning Gym blog!