What is the Kirkpatrick Model of Learning Evaluation?

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what-is-the-kirkpatrick-model-of-learning-evaluationDo you evaluate your learning’s return on investment? Most learning managers agree that they spend too much time on delivery and nowhere near enough time on learning evaluation. In fact, only 16% of learning managers think they put enough effort into evaluation. Think about your own online learning, how much effort do you put into training evaluation compared with design and development?

Considering many trainers don’t worry about an evaluation, you might think that you don’t need to worry either. So, let’s delve a bit deeper – why should you bother? Well, first off, it’s one way to guarantee that your learning is utterly tremendous! The information that evaluation gives you is everything you could possibly need to improve future learning. Learning evaluation is the perfect opportunity to learn lessons for the future!

The data that you extract from evaluation serves another purpose – it’s your motivation. When you look at the cold, hard proof that what you do each day makes a real difference – it’s really energising. But, proof of a juicy ROI won’t just energise you, it’ll energise company stakeholders to increase the budget for learning.

But, evaluating the ROI of learning can be a fickle business. This is because the return isn’t just financial. It can be anything – increased productivity to reduced employee turnover.

So, learn from the agely wisdom of Donald Kirkpatrick – a hero of learning evaluation. Don assembled a four-stage model to assure that corporate learning could be evaluated with simplicity and ease. This model has since become the gold standard for training evaluation and is ubiquitous across the industry. People just can’t get enough of Don and his four levels.


How did the participants react to the training? To get your teeth into this one Don suggests finding out whether the training was enjoyable, relevant and useful.learning evaluation

Enjoyability, relevance and usefulness generate engagement. It’s important to ensure that content is engaging as engagement reflects in motivation, and in turn ROI.

How can you use your LMS to evaluate reaction?

Often feedback forms are thought of as the sole way to gauge reactions to training content. But, a more accurate way to test reactions is to use your LMSs fancy reporting suite. A good LMS should help you measure how many times learners have logged in, how much content they have completed and how much they enjoyed it!


Have your learners actually learned what you wanted them to? Don kindly outlines five different levels of competence – just to add that extra dash of precision.

learning evaluationKnowledge: The learner knows the information

Skill: They would be able to perform what they have learned right now

Attitude: They are persuaded that it is a worthwhile task to do

Confidence: They believe that they can do it

Commitment: They intend to do it

How can you use your LMS to evaluate learning?

Whilst quizzes can be used to assess how much knowledge has been learned, assessing skill, attitude, confidence and commitment require something a bit craftier.

Insight Groups are an innovative way to encourage employees to collaborate around specific topics. These information-sharing groups are overseen by trainers and subject matter experts. They offer the perfect opportunity to assess all five levels of stage 2 learning!


Has there been a transfer of knowledge from what was learned in the training carried over into the day to day life of the learner?Juliette 6

This stage takes time to fully evaluate and to judge whether any permanent change has taken place. It requires a lot from the learner, a genuine desire to carry over this new knowledge and the effort to make the change last.

How can you use your LMS to evaluate behaviour? 

The real beauty of Insight Groups is that they encourage engagement with a topic after the training has been completed. Learners can contribute to the group and each contribution earns them points. More points mean a higher position on the leader board. So, you can use the leader board to see which learners have truly adopted new behaviours.


Does participation in training lead to such significant behavioural changes that key markers like learning evaluationprofit, quality, productivity and employee turnover signal that something good is going on? Because, if your training is really making a difference then you can expect to see companywide changes.

How can you use your LMS to evaluate results? 

Tech Data were able to use login data to compare employees who proactively logged into TD Academy account with those who didn’t. They found that proactive users of ‘TD Academy’ out-performed the rest by 75%. The same thing can be said for companies from a range of different industries. These companies have seen an increase in sales, an increase in engagement and massive reductions in employee turnover. So, these are the four stages in all their evaluative glory. These simple steps are a well-established route for learning managers to assure that they evaluate their training effectively.

Yet, for every five learning managers that undertake the first stage of learning evaluation – only one completes all four stages. Do you want to get a clear picture of your learnings ROI? If you do, you need Kirkpatrick’s model. So, download our ROI workbook – it’s full of hints and tips… Download it now!

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