The People Matters L&D Virtual Conference concluded with a highly informative session by Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick (creator of the New World Kirkpatrick Model) on the pitfalls that organizations should avoid, while executing the Kirkpatrick Model for their training evaluations. The session, titled ‘Fatal Kirkpatrick Model Execution Errors: Practical Tips for Identifying and Correcting Them’, threw up a number of key insights on the most common execution errors, and how to avoid them in the first place.
The ‘fatal’ errors
The Kirkpatrick Model evaluates the training program on four levels: reaction, learning, behavior and results; all applying to the participants of the program. The most common mistake organizations commit, is to evaluate these levels individually, and sequentially. This leads to the wasting of time and money, as most of it is spent on the first two levels itself. Thus, the business value of the program is not accurately reflected.
Another major error is the attempt to isolate the impact of training, thereby isolating yourself from all your partners, and the business itself. Upon committing this error, an individual can risk losing his/her credibility, program budget and career too!
In case number one (evaluating levels sequentially), the solution is to focus on the usefulness and credibility of the training. The usefulness can be demonstrated by the information that is used to make decisions related to the program, and the progress afterwards. The credibility, on the other hand can be illustrated by producing the information which shows your stakeholders that the performance improved and the organizational results were positively impacted. Both of these indicators, in this way point to the effectiveness of the training. The other solution lies in using the ‘Blended Evaluation Plan’, a methodology where data from all four Kirkpatrick levels are collected in a blended manner, using multiple methods.
For the second case (isolating the impact of training), the answer lies in involving L&D in as many success factors as possible, or practical. Success factors, in this context, would be the items that contribute to on-the-job application, performance and the ultimate results. Here, it would also be helpful to demonstrate the relative contribution of each of the major success factors, so as to drive home the point.