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April 12, 2021

Measuring Training Results is Easier Than You Think


As training professionals know, The Kirkpatrick Model is the gold standard for evaluating the effectiveness of training. Their methodology is broken into four levels:

  • Level 1: Reaction - The degree to which participants find the training favorable, engaging and relevant to their jobs
  • Level 2: Learning - The degree to which participants acquire the intended knowledge, skills, attitude, confidence, and commitment based on their participation in the training
  • Level 3: Behavior - The degree to which participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job
  • Level 4: Results - The degree to which targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training and the support and accountability package

Many training professionals find Level 4 evaluations complex. It’s not easy to determine when training truly impacts results. In fact, d’Vinci found that some industry professionals aren’t even seeking out these evaluations. In a survey at the 2020 ATD Government Conference, we asked attendees to identify the levels of evaluation used in their organizations. No surprise that Levels 1 and 2 are alive and well, and attendees reported using these consistently. There was a drop in utilization of Level 3, and no attendees indicated that they use Level 4.

Why? There are many factors that go into results or an improvement in performance that make isolating just one contributor a definite challenge. And that’s assuming that a lack of skill or knowledge was the problem to begin with.

A New Approach to Level 4 Evaluations

It’s likely that many of those organizations who said "no" to Level 4 didn’t realize how realistic and easy it can be to implement results-based evaluations. With the updated The New World Kirkpatrick Model, a level 4 evaluation looks at:

Short-term observations and measurements suggesting that critical behaviors are on track to create a positive impact on desired results

A great example of short-term observations is anecdotal feedback. Don’t dismiss it; this feedback matters! It gives you a gauge on what your audience thinks, and this feedback can be solicited or not.

I captured anecdotal feedback when I worked as a trainer for a health insurance call center. I led a project to implement a call simulator so that Customer Service Representatives could practice taking calls before actually connecting with a customer. I observed, listened, and captured their reactions and what they were saying to each other. While not quantifiable data per se, this informal feedback was so valuable because I was able to ensure critical behaviors were on track.

What Anecdotal Feedback Looks Like at Your Organization

What can you observe after a training event that will suggest critical behaviors are on track? What anecdotal feedback can you collect that will suggest the training created a positive impact on desired results?

  • A manager tells you the team is collaborating more.
  • An employee tells you she’s using the formula you gave her.
  • You overhear one employee telling another employee how to do what you taught them in class.

If you need to, collect these observations and summarize to tell the story about the impact your training made.

At d’Vinci, we work with clients to assist them in building evaluation systems, and clients no longer cringe when we discuss Level 4 using the new world approach. It’s less time intensive, makes sense, and will give you the information you need to ensure you’re getting the results you need.

Jenny Fedullo

By Jenny Fedullo, Director, Learning Solutions

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d'Vinci Interactive is an award-winning comprehensive learning solutions provider for corporate, government, medical, non-profit, and K-12 target markets.

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