How to use the Kirkpatrick model effectively for employee training
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Employee training is crucial to the sustained growth of any organization. Investing in reskilling and upskilling employees can allow organizations to take on more challenging projects that require employees to possess sound problem-solving skills.
In today’s fast-paced digital world where technology is constantly evolving, new challenges are introduced daily. So, if your employees do not possess critical skills, they won’t be able to fulfill their responsibilities for technically challenging roles. Thus, employee training is no longer a one-time process at the beginning of employment. Instead, enterprises must invest their time and efforts in continuously training their employees to keep them updated and ready for future challenges.
Now, introducing the Kirkpatrick model, a brilliant way to go about employee training and development. In this blog post, we’ll look at the main features of the model and how organizations can use it to improve employee training and development.
Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation
First, let’s answer the question about what the Kirkpatrick model is all about.
The Kirkpatrick Model, or Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation, is an easy 4-step process that enables organizations to measure the effectiveness of the employee training. It helps to make training processes optimal, enabling the betterment of the employees in the long run. Due to its effectiveness and relevancy, this model is prevalent among organizations worldwide! Thanks to Donald Kirkpatrick (a former professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin), who designed this model in the 1950s, this Kirkpatrick model has gone through many modifications before finally reaching what we call today – the “New World Kirkpatrick Model” in 2016, to make training relevant to people’s everyday jobs.
The four basic levels of employee training mentioned in the Kirkpatrick model are:
Reaction refers to the overall response of employees to training activities. Knowing how and what your employees feel after completing a training exercise is essential to understanding what works and what doesn’t. How did they react to the training? Did they enjoy it and find it relevant to their job role, or was it out of place and not as beneficial? Did they find the training helpful, engaging, and enjoyable? Answers to all these questions are essential if employee training is to be a fruitful exercise.
But how can organizations achieve this? Well, it can be done in a lot of ways. One way is making employees fill-out feedback forms and questionnaires. Another way is directly asking them their thoughts on the training, and whether specific aspects of the training need to be improved for optimal results.
This level of the Kirkpatrick model is learner focused. The employees’ participation, happiness, contentment, takeaways, and satisfaction are crucial. A survey called the ‘smile sheet’ is given to participants to rate their experiences with the program objective, course material provided, ease of understanding of essential concepts, quality of instructors, etc. It is better to inform employees beforehand about this questionnaire so they’re more attentive during training.
We at Techademy make employee training effective and impactful. Techademy is a skill-tech company providing both fresher training programs and workforce transformation to capture crucial information at the reaction stage. Our Talent on Demand (TOD), an outsourced learning model, entails incorporating high-level strategies for optimal recruiting, learning, and development
The next step in the Kirkpatrick model is ‘Learning.’ Learning essentially translates to the extent to which employees learn from training exercises. One way to optimally do this is by giving employees a test before the start of training and observe results after. Objectively measuring employees’ learning curve at this stage is essential. Companies need to know whether employees have acquired the required knowledge, attitude, aptitude, and confidence after the training. To get accurate results, pre- and post-learning assessments should be done through questionnaires, surveys, interviews, and group discussions to objectively score employees based on thoughts, observations, and outcomes.
Techademy’s Learning Before joining (LBJ) is a pre-joining program conducted before learners report to the organization. It provides a clear picture of what the participants have learnt during training, and whether they have successfully reached their learning objectives.
The third step in Kirkpatrick’s employee training model is ‘Behavior’. Enterprises need to measure positive behavioral changes in employees after the training. Did the employees apply whatever they learnt in the training? This step may take a while, but it is worth the wait and effort.
You can assign new tasks or projects to your employees to evaluate the amount of applied learning. Use a mix of observations and interviews to assess the behaviour of the employees after every training program is key.
Techademy’s Role-based Skilling (RBS) ensures you have the right people for critical role by assessing their current fitment and skill/reskill/upskill them for current role and future roles
Last but not least, everyone wants ‘Results’! For results to manifest, employers must see if the return on investment was worth the time and effort put into the training.
Results can be evaluated using the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Some common KPIs are increased sales, profits, market share, higher ROI, decreased employee turnover or other employee-related issues. The company needs to be ready with what will be measured based on observations, especially while focusing on the critical business targets.
Techademy’s Project Readiness Program (PRP) follows the more traditional route of enabling learners on their specialized tracks & building them towards desired performance outcomes. Also, our Stack-based skilling offers hyper personalized assessments on various stacks like FSE, Cloud, DevOps, SRE, Testing, Data science and more.
Advantages of the Kirkpatrick model:
The Kirkpatrick model offers a lot of advantages. Let’s look at some prominent ones.
- It is straightforward to use, unlike other complicated models. Anyone can understand how it works and use it practically for employee training.
- It offers straightforward and systematic steps for training employees.
- It is well suited for traditional and the latest digital learning programs.
- It provides good insight into employers and participants for their growth and development.
- It is a flexible model that can be customized and used across industries.
- All 4 steps are objectively defined and measurable.
- Data from previous levels can be used as a foundation for evaluating subsequent levels.
Making the Kirkpatrick Model more effective for employee training:
For the Kirkpatrick model to be effective, companies need to work backwards! Yes! Companies need to start from Level 4 rather than Level 1 to make this model fruitful.
Employers need to pen down the results they want from the training. The outcomes should be measurable and aligned with the goals of the organization. Next, employers need to plan backwards and decide what behavioural changes are expected from employees. Then, resources must be built for online or instructor-led training or a hybrid model.
The Kirkpatrick employee training model is still among the most used models across various organizations. Many organizations and individuals have benefitted from it and continue growing and developing. The main goal is to develop training initiatives and link them to outcomes to make the process robust and agile. This model goes well with formal and informal training and easily adapts to any training style. Thus, the Kirkpatrick model is a complete framework that guides businesses, organizations and individuals throughout the training process systematically and objectively!
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