Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Evaluation Model IT 7150 Sara Kacin Joseph Palmisano Jason Siko Background of Model Originated with Ph.D. dissertation research in 1952 Published in four-article series titled “Techniques for Evaluating…
Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Evaluation Model IT 7150 Sara Kacin Joseph Palmisano Jason Siko
Background of Model
Originated with Ph.D. dissertation research in 1952
Published in four-article series titled “Techniques for Evaluating Training Programs” in 1959
Developed to clarify evaluation concept in four levels : reactions, learning, behavior, and results
Primarily used to evaluate traditional instructor-led training programs
Sources: Dick, W., & Johnson, R. B. (2007). Evaluation in instructional design: The impact of Kirkpatrick’s four-level model. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (2nd ed., 94-103). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1996). Great ideas revisited. Training & Development, 50(1), 54-59.
Kirkpatrick, D. L., & Kirkpatrick, J. D. (2006). Evaluating training programs: The four levels (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
Level 1 – Reactions
Measures how participants react to a training program
This type of questionnaire is often called a “Smile Sheet”
Data is collected and processed using a Likert scale
Kirkpatrick's emphasis on customer satisfaction
Source: Guerra-López, I. (2008). Performance evaluation: Proven approaches for improving program and organizational performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Level 2 – Learning
Measures the extent to which students have increased their skills, knowledge, or desired attitudes
Pretest – Participants are tested before the program
Posttest – Participants are tested after training is complete
Experimental Group – A group that receives the training
Control Group – A group that does not receive the training
Validity – Looks at how closely matched the test items are to the actual objectives
Level 3 – Behavior
Measures whether the training is being used on the job
If training was successful, new skills should appear on job
Data – Performance measures, observations, interviews, and questionnaires
Data becomes harder to obtain
? Additional time and money
… and more difficult to trust, e.g., Hawthorne effect
Sources: Cennamo, K., & Kalk, D. (2005). Real world instructional design . Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth Publishing. Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2005). The systematic design of instruction (6th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Guerra-López, I. (2008). Performance evaluation: Proven approaches for improving program and organizational performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Level 4 – Results
Measures the effect on what the organization cares about: the BOTTOM LINE!
? Sales, productivity, profits
Very difficult to assess
? but necessary to document
Important to establish baseline data in order to document change
Strengths of Model
Easily understood within and outside of the field
Well-established and utilized throughout industrial and other professional environments
Has been used as basis for other evaluation models including Kaufman and Keller’s Levels and Phillips ROI Model
Sources: Galloway, D. L. (2005). Evaluating distance delivery and e-learning: Is Kirkpatrick’s model relevant? Performance Improvement, 44(4), 21-27. Holton, E. (1996). The flawed four-level evaluation model. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 7(1), 5-21. Kaufman, R., &, Keller, J. M. (1994). Levels of evaluation: Beyond Kirkpatrick. Human Resources Development Quarterly, 5(4), 371-380.
Limitations of Model
Causal relationship between levels has not been proven
Levels 1 and 2 are subject to bias, which may lead to erroneous conclusions
Many organizations implement only Levels 1 and 2, thereby ignoring learning transfer which is arguably the most important outcome
Levels of evaluation should be expanded beyond training to include performance improvement interventions
Born March 15, 1924, in Richland Center, WI
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.B.A., 1948, M.B.A., 1949, Ph.D., 1954
Memberships: ASPA, ASTD (president, 1975)
Career status: Professor emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Consultant to business and government.
Publications: Numerous including Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels, 2006 (first edition,1994)
Source: Contemporary Authors Online (2009) . Donald Kirkpatrick. Retrieved September 14, 2009, from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=LitRG&u=litedi
Photo credit: Unknown
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