Kirkpatrick Model

Kirkpatrick Model

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Is one of the most widely used approaches for evaluating training programmes. The Kirkpatrick Model's popularity as an training evaluation tool is based on a number of factors. Essentially, the model addresses the need of training professionals to understand training evaluation in a systematic way. [1] It utilizes plain language to describe training outcomes and the kinds of information that can be provided to assess the extent to which training programs have achieved certain objectives. In addition, the model's author (Donald Kirkprick) insisted that information about level four outcomes is perhaps the most valuable or descriptive information about training that can be obtained. This bottom-line focus is seen as a good fit for training professionals whose sponsors have a purely competitive profit orientation. Finally, the model represents a straightforward guide about the kinds of questions that should be asked and the criteria that may be appropriate and reduces the measurement demands for training evaluation. Since conclusion about training effectiveness are based solely on outcome measures, the model greatly reduces the number of variables with which training evaluators need to be concerned. In effect, the model eliminates the need to measure or account for the complex network of factors that surround and interact with the training process. [2]

See also: A.D.D.I.E Model


Evaluation Methodology

This evaluation methodology delineates four (4) levels of training outcomes; reaction, learning, behaviour and results. The first three elements focus on trainees while the fourth focuses on organizational benefits. The assumption is that, the results of training and development programmes transcend the idea of simply equipping people with skills. The expectation is that training and development should impact on organization results and that this effect can be evaluated.

The Four Levels of Training Outcomes are as follows:

Level 1: Assesses training participants' reaction to the training programme measures at this level include assessments of trainees' affective response to the programme quality ( e.g. satisfaction with the trainer) or relevance (usefulness of the acquired skill or knowledge in the workplace).

Level 2: At this level, learning measures are quantifiable indicators of the learning that has occurred during the training programme.

Level 3: Behavior outcomes at this level address either the extent to which knowledge and skills gained in the training are applied on the job or result in enhanced performance.

Level 4: Outcomes at this level are intended to provide a measure of the impact that training has had on the broader organizational goals and objectives.

Building on the Kirkpatrick model, additional research has identified a range of contextual factors that can influence the effectiveness of training before, during, and after the event. These factors can be defined as organizational, individual, training design and programme delivery environment. This research has led to a new understanding of training effectiveness which considers the "characteristics of the individual trainee, the organization and work environment as crucial input factors". Contextual factors such as an organization’s learning culture, goals and values; interpersonal support in the workplace for continuous learning and behavior change; the climate for learning transfer; and the availability of learning resources have an impact on the effectiveness of both the process and outcomes of training.[3]

Link icon.png Web Resources
Find below additional information and resources.
Link Content
How to Evaluate Learning: Kirkpatrick Model for the 21st Century A revision of Kirkpatrick Four Levels Model.
Understanding Kirkpatrick’s 4 Levels of Evaluation


A visual representation of Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation model.


  1. Shelton, S., & Alliger, G. M. Who’s afraid of level 4 evaluation? A practical approach. Training and Development Journal, 47, pp 43–46, 1993.
  2. Bates, Reid. A critical analysis of evaluation practice: the Kirkpatrick model and the principle of beneficence. Evaluation and Program Planning 27, pp 341-342: Elsevier, 2004.
  3. Bates, Reid in Mathison, Sandra. Encyclopaedia of Evaluation, pp 222, Ed. University of British Columbia. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005.