You Cannot Evaluate at One Level

Don't get me wrong, I believe in spending time evaluating whether a training program is effective. The four or five step processes that comes from the Kirkpatrick or Phillips methods can work well, but if you look at the numbers, very few organizations use all four or five levels.

If you only use some of the levels, you cannot know whether your training was effective. Well, you can if you use intuition. But in a big data world, intuition will not get the job done.

Here is the problem with only using some of the levels.

Level 1: If you only ask people whether they "like" your training, you will not know if they learned anything.

Level 2: An assessment will show whether someone learned the content of your training, but you will not know whether people have changed their behavior or apply what they learned.

Level 3: If you determine that people have changed their behavior and applied the concepts learned in your training, you will not know whether the application was effective….or resulted in performance improvement.

Level 4: Even if you determine whether performance improved, you will not know whether the performance improvement resulted in gains that out weight the investment you made to develop and deliver the training.

The lesson here is that if you really want to know whether your training is effective, you need to evaluate it using all five levels. I am almost ready to state that if you don't do all five, you should not do any.