Kirkpatrick Model

The Kirkpatrick Model, a universally recognized method for evaluating the effectiveness of training, has been shaping the landscape of learning and development for decades. Originating in the 1950s by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick, this model has evolved significantly over time. Initially designed to measure the impact of training programs, it has expanded to encompass a broader understanding of learning processes and their outcomes. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of the model, providing a clear and detailed exploration of its components, applications, and evolution.

The model of Kirkpatrick is revered for its simplicity and practicality in evaluating training effectiveness. At its core, it comprises four levels: Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results. Each level offers a unique perspective on how training impacts individuals and organizations. The first level, Reaction, gauges how participants respond to the training. Learning measures the increase in knowledge or capabilities post-training. Behavior looks at the extent to which participants change their behavior due to the training. Finally, Results assess the overall impact of the training on organizational goals. This model has been the cornerstone for evaluating training programs, providing a systematic approach to understanding their effectiveness.

Kirkpatrick model.

Exploring the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation

The Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation serves as a robust framework for assessing the effectiveness of training programs. It emphasizes a multi-dimensional approach to evaluation, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of training impact. This model is particularly notable for its structured methodology, which involves:

  • Understanding the Immediate Reaction: Evaluating how participants feel about the training they received.
  • Measuring Learning: Assessing the increase in knowledge or skills as a direct result of the training.
  • Observing Behavioral Changes: Monitoring changes in behavior and application of new skills in the workplace.
  • Analyzing Results: Gauging the final impact on organizational goals and objectives.

By incorporating these dimensions, the Kirkpatrick Model of Evaluation provides a thorough insight into the effectiveness of training programs, guiding organizations in making informed decisions about their learning and development strategies.

The Kirkpatrick Model of Training Evaluation

The Kirkpatrick evaluation model extends beyond traditional assessment methods, focusing on the long-term impact of training on an individual’s performance and organizational success. It’s not just about what learners thought of the training (Reaction) or what they learned (Learning), but also about how they apply it (Behavior) and the ultimate results (Results). This holistic approach ensures that training is not only educational but also transformative, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and accountability. The Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation has become a fundamental tool in the realm of corporate training, enabling organizations to align their training initiatives with their strategic objectives effectively.

Insights into the Kirkpatrick Learning Model

The Kirkpatrick Learning Model stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of corporate training and development. It emphasizes not only the measurement of training outcomes but also the quality and efficacy of the learning experience itself. Key aspects of this model include:

  • Engagement and Experience: Focusing on how engaging and relevant the training is for the learners.
  • Knowledge Acquisition: Assessing the depth and retention of new skills or information gained.
  • Application of Learning: Observing how effectively the acquired knowledge is applied in real-world scenarios.
  • Impact on Performance: Measuring the tangible improvements in individual and organizational performance.
  • Feedback for Improvement: Utilizing feedback loops to continuously refine and enhance the learning process.

By integrating these elements, the Kirkpatrick Learning Model provides a comprehensive framework for assessing the full spectrum of learning experiences, from initial engagement to long-term outcomes.

The Kirkpatrick New World Model

The Kirkpatrick new world model represents a significant evolution of the traditional learning and evaluation approach. This modern iteration responds to the changing dynamics of the workforce and the increasing complexity of business environments. It extends the classic four levels of evaluation by incorporating elements like the social and emotional context of learning, the influence of technology, and the alignment with business strategies. This adaptation makes the Kirkpatrick new world model highly relevant in today’s corporate training landscape, ensuring that learning and development initiatives are not only effective but also aligned with the broader goals and challenges of contemporary organizations.

Practical Examples of the Kirkpatrick Model

In the realm of training and development, the practical application of the Kirkpatrick Model illuminates its effectiveness. Numerous organizations across various industries have successfully integrated this model into their training evaluations. For instance, in customer service training, companies have used the model to not only gauge the immediate reaction of the employees but also to measure the long-term impact on customer satisfaction and service quality. Similarly, in technical skill development, the model has been pivotal in assessing the proficiency gains in employees and the subsequent improvement in operational efficiency. These real-world examples underscore the versatility of the Kirkpatrick Model, demonstrating its capacity to provide valuable insights across different training scenarios and organizational needs.

Case Studies: Kirkpatrick Model in Action

The practical application of the Kirkpatrick Model across various industries highlights its versatility and effectiveness. Key Kirkpatrick model examples include:

  • Customer Service Training: Organizations have applied the model to evaluate the immediate reaction of employees and the longer-term effects on customer satisfaction and service quality.
  • Technical Skill Development: The model has been instrumental in assessing the improvement in technical skills of employees and its subsequent impact on operational efficiency.
  • Leadership Training: In leadership development programs, the model helps in measuring the transformation in leadership styles and their influence on team dynamics and organizational culture.
  • Safety Training: In industries where safety is paramount, the model assesses how safety training translates into improved workplace safety practices and reduced incidents.
  • Sales Training: Companies have used the model to evaluate the effectiveness of sales training programs in enhancing sales performance and revenue growth.

These case studies demonstrate the Kirkpatrick Model’s capacity to provide valuable insights and concrete results in various training scenarios, underlining its widespread applicability and utility in meeting diverse organizational needs.

Beyond the Basics: The Kirkpatrick Model’s 5th Level

While the traditional Kirkpatrick Model is renowned for its four-level approach, there has been growing interest in exploring a potential fifth level. This additional dimension seeks to capture the broader, long-term impact of training on organizational culture and societal change. The concept of a fifth level challenges organizations to think beyond immediate training results and consider the overarching influence of their learning initiatives. This could include factors like fostering a culture of continuous learning, driving innovation, or contributing to societal advancements through skilled workforce development. The exploration of this fifth level represents an exciting frontier in the field of training evaluation, prompting a more holistic and far-reaching perspective on the impact of organizational learning.

Fostering a Culture of Continuous Learning

Integrating the potential fifth level of the Kirkpatrick Model emphasizes fostering a culture of continuous learning within organizations, which transcends traditional training outcomes. This culture is characterized by several key features:

  • Ongoing Professional Development: Encouraging continuous skill enhancement and knowledge acquisition.
  • Incorporating Learning into Daily Operations: Making learning an integral part of everyday work processes.
  • Employee Empowerment: Enabling employees to take charge of their own learning and career growth.
  • Adaptability and Innovation: Cultivating an environment that adapts to change and encourages innovative thinking.

By embedding these elements into the organizational culture, companies can create a dynamic and resilient workforce that is well-equipped to meet the challenges of the modern business landscape.

Driving Innovation and Societal Advancement

The exploration of a fifth level in the Kirkpatrick Model also focuses on the role of training in driving innovation and contributing to societal advancement. This perspective expands the scope of training evaluation to include its impact on fostering groundbreaking ideas and promoting social good. Training initiatives, under this level, are not only measured by their direct outcomes but also by how they empower employees to develop innovative solutions that benefit the organization and society. This aligns corporate learning with broader objectives like technological progress, ethical business practices, and economic development, highlighting the significant role of training in shaping a better future.


As we conclude our exploration of the Kirkpatrick Model, it’s clear that its influence on training evaluation and learning development is profound and far-reaching. Key takeaways from our discussion include:

  • Comprehensive Framework: The Model’s multi-level approach offers a thorough assessment of training effectiveness, from learner reactions to long-term organizational results.
  • Adaptability: Its flexibility to adapt to various industries and training types makes it a universally applicable tool.
  • Continuous Evolution: The model’s evolution, including the New World Model and the exploration of a fifth level, reflects its responsiveness to changing training needs and learning environments.
  • Practical Application: Real-world examples across industries demonstrate the model’s effectiveness in improving training outcomes and business performance.

The Kirkpatrick Model remains a cornerstone in the field of learning and development, offering valuable insights for organizations seeking to maximize the impact of their training programs.


How can the Kirkpatrick Model help in improving the effectiveness of training programs?

The Kirkpatrick Model enables organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of their training programs at various levels, from initial reactions to measurable business outcomes. By assessing these different dimensions, organizations can identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement. This comprehensive feedback helps in fine-tuning future training sessions to make them more relevant, engaging, and beneficial.

What types of organizations or fields can benefit from using the Kirkpatrick Model?

The Kirkpatrick Model is versatile and applicable across a wide range of industries and sectors. Any organization that invests in training programs, whether they are businesses, educational institutions, non-profits, or government agencies, can use this model to measure the effectiveness of their training initiatives.

Can the Kirkpatrick Model be used to evaluate online or virtual training sessions?

Yes, the Kirkpatrick Model can certainly be applied to online or virtual training sessions. Regardless of the training delivery mode, this model provides a systematic way to assess the reaction, learning, behavior, and results associated with the training. The methodologies might vary – for example, online surveys for Level 1, online quizzes for Level 2, virtual observation for Level 3, and data analytics for Level 4 – but the principles remain the same.

How does the New World Kirkpatrick Model differ from the original Kirkpatrick Model?

The New World Kirkpatrick Model, an enhancement of the original one, introduced additional elements to make the model more comprehensive. It emphasizes the importance of a significant 'Level 0' - the identification of the desired result before training begins. It also includes considerations such as the relevance of the training to the participants' job roles and the support from the organization to apply learning, thus providing a more holistic approach to training evaluation.

What factors should be considered while implementing the Kirkpatrick Model for training evaluation?

When implementing the Kirkpatrick Model, organizations should consider the time and resources required, particularly for higher levels of evaluation. It's also crucial to ensure that the data collected at each level is accurate and relevant. Moreover, the organization must be mindful of the fact that changes in business results may be influenced by external factors and not solely by the training program.

Can the Kirkpatrick Model be integrated with other training models or theories?

Yes, the Kirkpatrick Model can work symbiotically with other training models or theories. A popular example is the ADDIE Model, where the Kirkpatrick Model is used to evaluate the training program designed and developed by the ADDIE process. Additionally, the Kirkpatrick Model could be used in conjunction with learning theories like adult learning theory (Andragogy) or experiential learning theory for a more comprehensive learning and development strategy.