Kirkpatrick’s Model – Do you evaluate your training’s return on investment?

How do you know when your training program has created a real impact on your people and your business? Donald L. Kirkpatrick said it best, “Trainers must begin with desired results and then determine what behavior is needed toKirkpatrick’s Model - Do you evaluate your training’s return on investment? accomplish them. Then trainers must determine the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that are necessary to bring about the desired behavior(s). The final challenge is to present the training program in a way that enables the participants not only to learn what they need to know but also to react favorably to the program.”

Many training programs fail to deliver the expected organizational benefits. Having a well-structured measuring system in place can help you determine where the problem lies. On a positive note, being able to demonstrate a real and significant benefit to your organization from the training you provide can help you gain more resources from important decision-makers.

Kirkpatrick’s model has become highly influential in the field of learning and development because it provides a logical structure and process for measuring learning outcomes. Don Kirkpatrick was a professor at the University of Wisconsin, who developed a model for evaluating course training. The model is based on four levels of evaluation:

  1. Level 1 – Reaction

If you’veve ever had to fill out a course evaluation at the end of a program, then you are familiar with the reaction level. This measures the degree to which learners reacted positively to the learning content – whether they found the content valuable, enjoyable, and interesting.


  1. Level 2 – Learning

This is the evaluation given before, during, and after learning. The purpose of it is to measure the degree to which learners have obtained knowledge based on their participation in the learning event. The evaluation conducted before learning determines the learners starting point. Each learner will have a different level of background knowledge before engaging with the course material, so understanding where everyone stands, to begin with, allows for a more accurate measure.

Evaluation during the learning event allows learners to self-evaluate, and measure their own progress. It also gives facilitators a sense of how well learners are doing in relation to the learning objectives. The evaluation at the end of the learning event is also referred to as a summative evaluation, and it is done individually. For instance: At Procurement and Supply Chain Academy, learners can track and measure their performance with just one click. This enables them to identify where they need improvement.


  1. Level 3 – Behavior

Level 3 measures the degree to which participants’ behaviors change as a result of the training – basically whether the knowledge and skills from the training are then applied on the job. This measurement can be a reflection of whether participants have actually learned the subject material. However, failure of behavioral change can be due to other circumstances such as an individual’s reluctance to change. Level 3 evaluation involves both pre- and post-event measurement of the learner’s behavior.

For instance, through scenario-based training videos, employees are able to experience real work situations. Along with being very engaging, this type of training also prepares them to face future challenges in their jobs. Therefore, they are more likely to apply what they are learning and make the best decisions for the benefit of their organizations.


  1. Level 4 – Results

Level 4 seeks to determine the tangible results of the training such as: reduced cost, improved quality and efficiency, increased productivity, employee retention, increased sales and higher morale. While such benchmarks are not always easy or inexpensive to quantify, doing so is the only way training organizations can determine the critical return on investment (ROI) of their training expenditures. One typical challenge is to identify whether specific outcomes are truly the result of the training. Level 4 requires both pre- and post-event measurement of the training objective.

For example: The e-learning solutions from Procurement and Supply Chain Academy adds more value to the organizations than the resources it costs . With a high rate of return on investment, companies are more likely to increase profitability and productivity. Besides, it has been found that e-learning proves to be more engaging for employees, facilitating retention and completion of courses.

Kirkpatrick’s Model - Do you evaluate your training’s return on investment?


Evaluating your training’s return on investment is not an easy task, yet it is a crucial stage in the process in determining whether you are achieving your training objectives. At Procurement and Supply Chain Academy, we make sure that your training needs are met. The Kirkpatrick Model can be applied to evaluate the effectiveness of our training solutions.

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