Four Courses of Kirkpatricks (Part 1)

If your company has mentioned incorporating training evaluation or is looking at different types of evaluation let us share with you Kirkpatrick’s 4 Levels of Evaluation. We liken them to a four-course meal as each course builds upon the last. Also each course is more costly than the last, takes more time to execute, and focuses on larger goals than just the accomplishment of the training.

Our breakdown should help you and/or your team to have a discussion about the type of evaluations you want and/or think you need based on what you are trying to examine. This week we will start you off with the first level, to give you a “taste” of Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation.

Level 1: The Appetizer
The first level is all about the reaction. Much like an appetizer starts off the meal and puts the diner in the mood for the next course Kirkpatrick encourages focus on the experience. Here we want to find out the general attitude participants had towards the training.

You may be familiar with the term “smiley sheets” or post-workshop questionnaires that gauge your attitude and opinions. These are typically survey-styled documents that ask questions such as:

  • Did you find the pace of the workshop: Too Fast, Average Pace, Below Average Pace.
  • Using the following scale with 1 being Strongly Disagree and 5 being Strongly Agree rate the following statements:
    • The materials will help me with my job.
    • The materials were easy-to-follow.
    • The activities helped to draw parallels between the materials and what I need to do on-the-job.

    And so on.

    These types of surveys can be given right after a training intervention and are relatively cheap to incorporate. Given the use of technology these can be distributed and data compiled through an online survey tool like SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics.

    Valuable to note is the writing of the survey statements and questions need to be designed so they are free of bias and do not guide the participant to respond in a manner that skews the information. This does not always work in favor of a positive response either.

    Feedback from this level of evaluation allows tweaking to training programs. This could be done on a long-standing educational program or a pilot of one.

    Our next course will be Level 2: Salad. (Learning Retention).

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