My father, Don Kirkpatrick, developed the four levels of training evaluation over 50 years ago. These levels reaction, learning, behavior, results remain the most widely known and useful model in the world today these many years later. Why? Because, as Dave Basarab, at the time from Motorola Unversity, said 25 years ago, Don has broken down the elusive topic of evaluation into four, simple words. I saw Dave earlier this year in Charlotte, North Caroline, and he said he is still applying them with vigor and success. Ah, that is the issue at hand using them with success. While this evaluation model is well known globally, it remains poorly implemented. I like to call it, Smile sheets, pre- and post-tests, and hope for the nest.
Now Dad, if you are reading this, do not for a moment think that I am slighting the ever-important Level 1. Reactions sheets and other methods of gathering data and information on participants reaction to learning events is critical to learning being delivered. If it is not, learning will not take place, the transfer of new knowledge and skills to on-the-job behaviors will not occur, and subsequently, expected results will not be forthcoming. Ultimately, learning efforts will have failed to achieve what they are designed to do make a significant contribution to the bottom line of the business.