Instructional design/Introduction to Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation

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Introduction[edit]

It’s the “E” in ADDIE; when you find out whether the rubber met the road. That’s right—we are talking about evaluations—evaluations of your training programs, to be precise.

Depending on when you conduct the evaluation of your instructional materials, they can be divided into two categories—formative and summative evaluations. Formative evaluations are conducted as you design and develop the instructional materials. Summative evaluations, on the other hand, are conducted after the instruction has been delivered to the target learners. Their primary objective is to determine the effectiveness of the instructional materials with the learners.

Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Evaluation[edit]

One of the models used when conducting a summative evaluation is Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation. Donald Kirkpatrick created the model specifically for evaluating training programs. Today, it is considered a standard in the fields of education and training.


After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • State Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Evaluation and their purpose
  • State the three most common target areas measured by a Level One evaluation
  • Identify the item types used in Level One evaluation survey
  • Create a Level One evaluation survey using the three evaluation item types


Let's start with an overview of the model.

Level One: Reaction[edit]

Was the learner satisfied?

Reaction evaluations measure the learners’ response to the training program. In other words, this level measures customer satisfaction. At this level, you find out whether trainees liked various aspects of the training, such as the content, the trainer, and the overall experience.


Example
Innovate Technologies wants to find out what new employees think about the orientation program offered to them. A level 1 evaluation can help determine the new employees’ level of satisfaction with the program.


Methods/Tools used

  • Reaction sheets or feedback surveys
  • Verbal feedback


Level Two: Learning[edit]

What did the learner learn?

Learning evaluations measure the learners’ knowledge gained from the training program. At this level, you find out whether trainees learned the knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes covered in the training program.


Example
Stratford Healthcare wants to find out whether their employees have benefited from the software training programs implemented there. A level 2 evaluation can help determine whether employees have increased their skill set after being trained.


Methods/Tools used

  • Pre-and post-training tests to measure increase in knowledge or skill
  • Use of a control group to compare trainees’ performance


Level Three: Behavior[edit]

How did the learner's behavior change?

Behavior evaluations measure the change in the learners’ behavior or performance after completing the training. At this level, you find out whether the knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes learned are transferred to the job.


Example
Glide Airlines wants to find out whether their Customer Support teams are implementing the “How to handle customer complaints” training on the job. A level 3 evaluation can help determine whether Customer Support is now applying the training at work.


Methods/Tools used

  • Observation of learner behavior over time
  • Interviews with learners’ immediate supervisors to evaluate change in performance/behavior


Level Four: Results[edit]

How did the learner impact the business?

Results evaluations measure the impact learners have on the business after completing the training. At this level, you find out whether the training improved the learners’ productivity and/or quality of work.


Example
Fultronix Manufacturing wants to find out whether the Quality Improvement training for their assembly line workers has improved the quality of their products. A level 4 evaluation can help determine whether the training has helped in doing so.


Methods/Tools used

  • Data collection over a period of time
  • Comparisons of Key Performance Indicators (KPI)


Now, that you have completed the overview, test your knowledge (To return to this page, click the Back button on your browser window ). Or, click Next to go to Lesson 2.

Back Next
ID Homepage 1. Kirkpatrick’s 4 Levels of Evaluation 2. Level 1 Sample Survey 3. Target Areas 4. Question Types 5. Structure Your Survey