The Four Levels of Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation Method
There are four levels of evaluation according to Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation Method. The four levels are reaction, learning, behavior and results. Even though a boss may only be concerned with the fourth level, results, the other three levels are just as important. The first level, reaction, is about how the trainees felt about the training and if they believe that they can apply what they learned to their work (Kirkpatrick Evaluation Method, n.d.). This level is very important when evaluating training because it takes the employees feedback into consideration to determine whether or not the training is beneficial or not. It is also very simple to use this level because the employer can receive the feedback by using post-training surveys or questionnaires and written reports (Kirkpatrick Evaluation Method, n.d.).
The second level is learning. The learning evaluation helps determine if the trainees knowledge or intellectual capability has increased after the training meaning did the employees learn what they were meant to learn in training (Kirkpatrick Evaluation Method, n.d.). This level is crucial because it determine whether or not the training is effective in advancing the employees. If the training is not teaching the employees what they need to know, it is pointless. This level of evaluation can be assessed by establishing clear measurements that will help determine the knowledge that employees gained (Kirkpatrick Evaluation Method, n.d.).
The third level is behavior. This level of evaluation determines whether or not employees changed their behavior and applied what they learned during training (Kirkpatrick Evaluation Method, n.d.). This level is important because it helps management determine whether or not the employees are applying their new skills to their work and if they can teach other employees what they learned. This success of this level can be assessed by conducting employee assessments over time after the training (Kirkpatrick Evaluation Method, n.d.).
Lastly, the results of the training must be evaluated. Results evaluation helps management look at the big picture to see how the training has affected the business overall (Kirkpatrick Evaluation Method, n.d.). This can be done by viewing key performance indicators such as return on investment and other percentages (Kirkpatrick Evaluation Method, n.d.). The results evaluation is important to evaluate training because if the company is not becoming more successful because of the training then the training plan must be reconstructed to boost employee performance. The main challenge of this evaluation level is determining the measures. Overall, all training levels are equally important to determine the effectiveness of training. Without all of these levels it would be difficult to determine exactly where the training has flaws.
Importance of Each Level
The Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training evaluation are critical in assessing training effectiveness. Most people tend to think that results are better than the other levels of training. They argue that results provide information that is vital in providing the worth of the learning and performance process. As such, most decision makers who approve a learning processes that focuses more on the results than the process prefer using only using this level of evaluation. However, when evaluating the effectiveness of a training program, the process is more important that the results. According to UMUC. (n.d.), organizations that value the process should make use of the Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluating training which include, reaction, learning, behavior, and result.
Reaction: During the training, the trainees may get a chance to give feedback on how effective the training program was. This may help in determining if the training was satisfying, if all the trainees were fully engaged, and if there were any questions or complaints (Businessballs, n.d.). This information can be used by the training designers or the trainers to make any required improvements and gain the student’s perceptions. In addition, the information can be used as a basis to justify the training expenses.
Learning: This is the first level of training evaluation. It is very useful because it determines if the trainees acquired the required knowledge and skills during the training as per the training objectives. It also helps the organization in making the necessary changes if the employees who attended the training did not get the intended skills or knowledge at a certain level.
Behavior: During this level, the instructor monitors the behavior of the trainees after the training program. The behavioral changes on their work will be attributed to the training program they had attended. If the behavior of the employees changes positively, then it means that the training was effective. If the training does not change, it is a clear indicator that the training program had a gap and that is why the trainees did not acquire the intended skills and knowledge.
Results: this is the last level of evaluating the effectiveness of training. It is used measuring the tangible or observable effects of training the employees on their productivity and operations (Businessballs, n.d.). This may include increased morale, increased production, work efficiency, less supervision among others. The decision makers will certainly know the results by evaluating the work done by the employees after training.
Overall, all the four levels are important when evaluating a training program. They help an organization in gaining the employees’ perspective of the training process. They are also important in determining if the trainees have gained the required knowledge and skills and if they have had the required behavioral change. In addition, the four levels help in checking the impact of training on job performance and make the required changes if there are no improvements. Without the four levels of evaluating the effectiveness of training, the organization is more likely to fail to improve its productivity.