Training Evaluation Model:
Training evaluation models are systematic frameworks
for investigating and analyzing the effectiveness of
training or learning journeys.
Donald Kirkpatrick, former Professor Emeritus at the
University of Wisconsin, first published his model in
1959. He updated it in 1975, and again in 1993, when
he published his best-known work, "Evaluating
Training Evaluation Models
• Each successive level of the model represents a more precise
measure of the effectiveness of a training program. It was
developed further by Donald and his son, James; and then by
James and his wife, Wendy Kayser Kirkpatrick.
• In 2016, James and Wendy revised and clarified the original
theory, and introduced the "New World Kirkpatrick Model" in
their book, "Four Levels of Training Evaluation." One of the
main additions is an emphasis on the importance of making
training relevant to people's everyday jobs. The four levels
are Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results.
Level 1: Reaction
• You want people to feel that training is valuable. Measuring how engaged
they were, how actively they contributed, and how they reacted to the
training helps you to understand how well they received it.
• It also enables you to make improvements to future programs, by
identifying important topics that might have been missing. Identify how
you want to measure people's reactions and analyze the feedback, and
consider the changes that you could make in response
Questions to ask trainees include:
• Did you feel that the training was worth your time?
• Did you think that it was successful?
• What were the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the training?
• Did you like the venue and presentation style?
Level 2: Learning
• It focuses on measuring what your trainees have and
haven't learned. In the New World version of the tool,
Level 2 also measures what they think they'll be able to
do differently as a result, how confident they are that
they can do it, and how motivated they are to make
• This demonstrates how training has developed their
skills, attitudes and knowledge, as well as their
confidence and commitment.
• To measure how much your trainees have learned,
start by identifying what you want to evaluate.
• Before the training begins, test your trainees to
determine their knowledge, skill levels and attitudes
Level 3: Behavior
• This level helps you to understand how well people
apply their training. It can also reveal where people
might need help. But behavior can only change when
conditions are favorable.
• Imagine that you're assessing your team members
after a training session. You can see little change, and
you conclude that they learned nothing, and that the
training was ineffective.
• It's possible, however, that they actually learned a
lot, but that the organizational or team culture
obstructs behavioral change. Perhaps existing
processes mean that there's little scope to apply new
thinking, for example.
• As a result, your people don't feel confident in
applying new knowledge, or see few
opportunities to do so. Or, they may not have
had enough time to put it into practice.
• Be sure to develop processes that encourage,
reinforce and reward positive changes in
behavior. The New World Kirkpatrick Model
calls these processes "required drivers." If a
team member uses a new skill effectively,
highlight this and praise him or her for it
Level 4: Results
• At this level, you analyze the final results of your
training. This includes outcomes that you or your
organization have decided are good for business
and good for your team members, and which
demonstrate a good return on investment (ROI).
(Some adapted versions of the model actually
have a Level 5, dedicated to working out ROI.)
• It will likely be the most costly and time-
consuming. Your biggest challenge will be to
identify which outcomes, benefits, or final results
are most closely linked to the training, and to
come up with an effective way to measure these
outcomes in the long term.
Potential Pitfalls of Kirkpatrick's Model
• Kirkpatrick's model remains popular, but it should be
used with care. The basic structure is now more than
60 years old (despite its many updates), and the ways
that people learn and organizations operate has
changed radically in this time. Even the term "training"
has been largely replaced by "learning and
development.“ Today, other, non-formal methods of
workplace training are often more popular and
effective, with the rise of personalized, user-directed
learning, formal training is becoming less prominent.
Kirkpatrick's model is not necessarily suited to this new
approach to learning.
• Another drawback is that Levels 3 and 4, which
arguably yield the most useful information for the
business, are time-consuming, resource-intensive, and
expensive to implement. So the model may not be
practical for all organizations, especially if you don't
have a dedicated training or HR department to conduct
the analysis. And, it's not ideal for all situations, such as
• Most importantly, organizations change in many ways,
and these changes affect behaviors and results, as well
as training. For example, measurable improvements in
retention and productivity could result from the arrival
of a new boss, or from a new computer system, rather
than training. Or it could be a combination of these.
The CIRO Model
• In 1970, Peter Warr, Michael Bird, and Neil
Rackham and published their book, Evaluation of
management training. Their framework for
evaluating training became known as the ‘CIRO
model’ and offers businesses a way of evaluating
training needs and results.
• Unlike other models such as Kirkpatrick’s Model
that can be applied to a broad range of training
and evaluation programs, the CIRO model is
specifically aimed at evaluating management
• CIRO is an acronym that stands for the four levels
which make up this approach to learning
• The CIRO model is hierarchical, meaning that
practitioners must start by studying ‘Context’, before
moving through ‘Input’, ‘Reaction’ and ‘Output
• Stage 1: Context Evaluation
In the CIRO Model, you must first collect performance-
deficiency information, i. e. what is the organization
lacking? This stage assesses the operational situation
that an organization finds itself in.
• Stage 2: Input Evaluation
During the second stage of the CIRO Model,
practitioners must gather information about possible
training techniques and methods.
• Stage 3: Reaction Evaluation
The third stage of the CIRO Model involves gathering
participant views and recording any suggestions they
make about the training they received.
• Stage 4: Outcome
This stage of the CIRO Model involves presenting
information about the results of the training. The CIRO
Model is a practical way of evaluating management
training and has found favor with many organizations the
The Phillips ROI Model
• As the Kirkpatrick Model grew in popularity during the 1970s,
many academics and business practitioners wanted to build
and expand on it. Among them was Jack Phillips, who
published his own book, Return on Investment in Training and
Performance, in 1980. Phillips wanted to build on Don
Kirkpatrick’s work and address several of what he perceived to
be its shortcomings. Over time, Phillip’s approach to training
evaluation became known as the Phillips ROI Model.
• The most commonly quoted aspects of the Phillips ROI Model
is the addition of a fifth level. This expands upon the
Kirkpatrick Model and offers organizations a way of
calculating the ROI of their training. The Phillips model has
five levels that broadly follow the scope and sequence of the
• Level 1: Reaction
In common with the Kirkpatrick Model, the Phillips ROI Model begins
by evaluating the participants’ reaction to the training they received.
• Level 2: Learning
The second level of the Philips ROI Model evaluates what, if any,
learning took place during the training.
• Level 3: Application and Implementation
Like the Kirkpatrick Model, the Phillips ROI Model looks at whether the
participants used what they learned during the training when they
returned to the workplace. However, Phillips approach helps an
organization determine whether an issue (if there is one) lies with
the application of the learning or its implementation.
• Level 4: Impact
While the fourth level of the Kirkpatrick taxonomy focuses purely on
results, the Phillips ROI model is much broader and looks at the impact
of the training. This helps identify whether factors other than training
were responsible for delivering the outcomes.
• Level 5: Return on investment (ROI)
Unlike the Kirkpatrick Model that simply measures training results
again stakeholder expectations (ROE), the Phillips ROI model contains a
fifth level. This is designed to measure ‘return on investment’, or ROI.
This level uses cost-benefit analysis to determine the value of training
programs. The Phillips ROI Model found favor with organizations who
wanted to assign a monetary value to the results of the training.
The Brinkerhoff model
• In 2003, Robert O. Brinkerhoff introduced an entirely new way of
evaluating training effectiveness, called the Success Case Method (SCM).
The SCM is a methodology that helps an organization understand how a
training or coaching program works well, or why it is not working.
However, there are two big differences between the SCM and other training
• Firstly, the SCM isn’t simply limited to evaluating training and can be
applied to a wide variety of events or activities. For example, it could be
applied to a new type of machinery or a new facility in which a company
• Secondly, unlike other training evaluation models (such as the Kirkpatrick
Model) SCM isn’t concerned with finding the average performance of
training participants. Instead, it deliberately studies the most successful
participants and the least successful ones. In other words, it looks at the
The two most important questions asked by the SCM are:
• “How well does a program work in a best-case scenario?”
• “When a program doesn’t work, what’s the reason for this?”
The SCM has five different steps that an organization must go
through to evaluate a training course.
• Plan a Success Case study.
• Write an “Impact Model” that defines what success should look
• Write a survey that identifies best-case and worst-case scenarios.
• Document success cases and conduct interviews.
• Draw conclusions, make recommendations and communicate
findings to stakeholders
Kaufman's Model of Learning Evaluation
• Roger Kaufman and John M. Keller
published Levels of evaluation: Beyond
Kirkpatrick in the winter 1994 edition of
Human Resource Development Quarterly. This
work became known as Kaufman’s Five Levels
of Evaluation and is commonly referred to
as Kaufman’s Model of Learning Evaluation.
• Like the Phillips ROI Model, Kaufman’s model
was closely based on the Kirkpatrick Model
and made a few changes and modifications.
• Kaufman’s Model takes the following
• Level 1a: Input
• Were the training resources and materials
suitable and appropriate?
• Level 1b: Process
• Was the training well delivered?
• Level 2: Acquisition
• To what extent did participants acquire new
knowledge and skills?
• Level 3: Application
• To what degree did participants utilize their learning or
training in their on-the-job roles?
• Level 4: Organizational Results
• In what ways did the organization benefit from the training?
• Level 5: Societal/customer consequences
How did the training impact on the organization’s customers and
society at large?
Kaufman’s model is often praised for separating
‘input’ and ‘process’ as this makes it simpler to
assess whether the training materials or the
delivery were the cause of the success or failure
of a training course. However, the fifth level of
Kaufman’s Model – Societal, customer
consequence – is often deemed infeasible to
implement for the majority of businesses
Anderson Model of Learning Evaluation
• The last training evaluation model that we’ll discuss is
the Anderson model of learning evaluation. This unique
model was first published by the Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development in 2006 as the ‘Anderson’s Value
of Learning Model’. This model differs from other training
evaluation models in two significant respects.
• Firstly, the primary focus of the Value of Learning Model is on
aligning an organization’s training programs with its strategic
priorities. Whereas other training evaluation models focus
closely on the learner and whether they derived benefit from
the training, the Anderson Model is designed to be
implemented at a management level and cover the whole
• Secondly, this model is unique as it doesn’t focus on the outcome of individual
programs. Instead, it looks at an organization's strategic goals and examines
whether the training programs are aligned or whether they should shift focus.
• Anderson’s model is a three-stage cycle that helps an organization determine
the best training strategy for their needs.
The three stages are:
• Stage 1: Determine the current alignment of training against strategic
priorities for the organization.
• Stage 2: Use a range of methods to assess and evaluate the contribution of
• Stage 3: Establish the most relevant approaches for your organization.
The Anderson model of learning evaluation is harder to compare and contrast
with other types of training evaluation models as it takes such a unique approach
Measuring Training Effectiveness
• Training effectiveness measures the impact of training
on the trainee’s knowledge, skills, performance, and
the company’s ROI. The training’s goals and objectives
should be determined before training occurs, allowing
these to be. For example, the trainee’s productivity,
sales numbers, and overall mood and happiness might
be measured before the training occurs, and then once
again after it has taken place. This demonstrates the
quality and effectiveness of the training provided and
enables businesses to either continue doing more of
the same or pivot their approach.
• Using scientifically validated techniques to evaluate the
effectiveness of training programs is known as training
• Why measure training effectiveness?
• There are many reasons why organizations (large and
small) consistently measure training effectiveness.
1. To determine if the training benefits employees.
Perhaps the most important reason for evaluating
training effectiveness is to see if it benefits your
employees’ skills and performance. Additionally, it
provides them with a clear idea of what they’ve achieved
and the path they need to take to get to the next
level. When it comes to learning and development (L&D),
feedback and encouragement are crucial.
2. To see the effect on business performance and
determine the training’s ROI.
The ultimate goal of all training programs is to
boost business performance and see a return on
your investment. Changes in productivity, sales, and
profits can all be tracked and measured, and you
would hope to see an increase in all of the above
For example, it’s difficult to determine whether the
training in question was responsible for an increase
in sales, or if it was the result of something else, like
a marketing campaign or a boost in the economy.
3. To uncover issues in the training process and
When you invest valuable resources like time,
money, and energy into your training programs, it’s
essential to measure whether they’re working or
not. But your intentions for your training will be
unique to your business and your long-term goals.
This is why you need to define clear objectives at
the start. If you fail to do this, then any results you
receive will be meaningless because you don’t have
a target in sight
• How to measure training effectiveness?
Measuring training effectiveness can be
conducted through discussions, surveys and
questionnaires, post-training, quizzes,
assessments, and examinations. Before training
commences, it’s essential to decide how you will
measure and assess the data you collect.
Note: for this you have need to study evaluation
models that are most often trusted by