4 Steps to Evaluate Your Training and Development Programs

Unless you know if your training and development programs are having an impact on your employees’ productivity and effectiveness, you are wasting your time and money.

One of the best known and influential models for training and development evaluation was developed by Donald Kirkpatrick, Professor Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin and a past president of the American Society for Training and Development.

His model is based on four interconnected levels. The first two levels of learning are how companies measure the success of their training and development investment, while levels three and four require detailed goals and actions.  Don’t fall into the trap of many companies that never move to levels three and four due to the time commitment required to adequately measure and manage the programs.

First Level: Reaction

Reaction measures whether your employees enjoyed and found value in the program, which can be discovered with a simple survey following the program.

Second Level: Learning

Conduct pre- and post-program testing to determine whether or not your employees acquired new knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes.

Third Level: Behavior

After 3-6 months, you can measure learning retention and job transferability to determine your employees applied their new knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes to their job, role, and goals of their department and the company.

Fourth Level: Measuring Business Results

Measuring business results depends on completing level three before looking at improved results through an entire team or department.

A great example of how this works in the real world is a development/training program that focuses on improving your team.  A successful program should be set up with specific measurable results before the program is implemented.  There are many ways leadership of a team and/or team growth can be measured.  A team that is constantly complaining about their leader and then not having complaints for a month or more is a sure sign of leadership improvement.  A leader changing the way he/she approaches discipline with their staff and/or praise leads to many positive results in a company’s bottom line.  ROI for the company through developing the people!

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