As a major boost to a company’s reputation and performance, training now plays an increasingly strategic role within the corporate world. But training comes at a cost. How to ensure that the training has a real impact on the skills of employees and brings real added value to a company? The Kirkpatrick model, developed at the end of the 1950s, later updated in 2010, offers some interesting answers.
The 4 assessment levels of the Kirkpatrick model
The Kirkpatrick model was developed by American researcher Donald Kirkpatrick in 1959 and is based on the idea that there are 4 levels that determine the effectiveness of training; those being learner satisfaction, acquisition of knowledge and skills, applying these new skills to work and achieving the desired results.
Level 1: Evaluate Reactions
The objective of this first level is simple: it is a question of evaluating participants’ reactions at the end of a training session. This can be done by assessing their satisfaction, inviting them to indicate their level of involvement opinion on the relevance of their training in relation to the situations they face within their role.
This is usually done through an evaluation questionnaire, through which you can determine the NPS or “Net Promoter Score” (a very effective indicator for knowing and measuring the satisfaction rate) of your training program.
For example, here are a number of questions that can be asked:
- Overall, how satisfied are you with this training?
- Would you recommend it to your colleagues?
- Is the information provided relevant to you?
- How well do you think you can apply this new knowledge/skill(s) in your work?
- What are the 3 most useful things you learned from this module?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of this e-learning experience?
Level 2: Evaluate Learning
While learner satisfaction is a good starting point, it is not enough to guarantee effective learning. Level 2 of the Kirkpatrick model focuses on the knowledge and skills acquired through learning: What did the participants learn from the training session? What knowledge, skills and behavioural attitudes have they acquired?
To do this, it is common practice to test learners on the spot by distributing an end-of-training quiz. You can also continue the evaluation afterwards, in the form of a cold quiz or modules for updating knowledge in order to reinforce new information.
Level 3: Behaviour Assessment
It is very useful to know what the participants have learned, but what really matters is whether they have transferred the acquired knowledge into new behaviours in the workplace. This is the aim of Level 3: To assess the behavioural changes following training, i.e. how learners will effectively implement the newly acquired skills in real situations.
Depending on the case, this can be more or less easy to measure. If, for example, you have set up an e-learning programme to improve the performance of your employees in a certain area, all you have to do is compare the indicators “before” and “after” the training. On the other hand, when the objective of the training is harder to quantify, it is necessary to observe and analyze learners’ behaviour. This assessment can be done through surveys, observations or interviews conducted by the line manager, a designated tutor or the learners themselves.
Level 4: Evaluate Results
Finally, Level 4 makes it possible to assess the concrete results brought about by training, through ROE (Return On Expectations), i.e. feedback on expectations. This process is more complex and must be understood in the longer term, but it is of paramount importance because it makes it possible to check whether the training put in place meets the strategic objectives of your organization in the animal health industry.
The evaluation of the results is based on factual and quantifiable key indicators, such as the increase in your turnover, better satisfaction among customers/patients, a better return on investment (ROI) or even the reduction of accidents at work, for example.
The key to effective training: Using the Kirkpatrick model
Finally, know that the evaluation is not only important at the end of a programme, it must be considered before the training! Prior consideration is needed early on in order to set the success criteria for your e-learning and to collect the necessary data in all phases of the programme: beforehand, during and after the training.
It is common to use the Kirkpatrick model by inverting the order of the different levels, by first defining the targeted strategic objectives and breaking them down into expected behaviours, which will then be used to determine the educational objectives.
You now have the key to properly assess the impact of your e-learning training.