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Kirpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation


For the past four decades, Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation has been popular, well known and used extensively. Despite the fact that it’s so well known, it is also greately criticized by the corporate community and academia worldwide for some of its weaknesses (Coulthard, 2005).

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The four levels of evaluation

Level one (reaction), simply involve the use of feedback forms, naire, post training surveys and participant’s verbal reactions to measure or estimate how the participants or delegates react to the training (Chapman, 2009). This involves assessing whether they liked the instructor, training facilities and even the whole training course and so on. This reaction level is so effective because it is quick and has no expenses in gathering and analyzing the information.

Level two (learning); this level ascertains whether the trainees have acquired knowledge successfully or whether they have changed attitude as a result of the training (Chapman, 2009). It involves use of assessments before and after training activities, carrying out interviews and frequent observations throughout the training. This evaluation level is relatively very simple to set up, but, again it’s challenging for complex training because it demands quantifiable skills.

Level three (behavior evaluation), can also be referred to as the implementation level; in this level participants are assessed whether they acquired enough knowledge and whether they have the ability to apply whatever they learnt in their jobs (Chapman, 2009). This assessment can be achieved through long term observation and interviews. This level strictly requires skills of the managers and tight cooperation with participants (Chapman, 2009).

Level four (results evaluation); this basically determines the trainee’s impacts or effects on the environment or relevant business and evaluation tools involved include reports and normal management systems (Chapman, 2009). On the other hand, this whole evaluation process which is not too difficult must have clear accountabilities (Chapman, 2009).

Consequences of evaluation

It’s reported that 60% of global organizations nowadays often evaluate all their programmes using Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model. Notable to mention is that, 77% of these organizations evaluate learners reactions (the first level), while 38% and 14% assess learning and behavioral changes (level two and three respectively) of the Kirkpatrick’s model (Coulthard, 2005). The same statistics indicates that only 7% of these organizations actually afford to evaluate the fourth stage (results) (Coulthard, 2005); this difficulty is due to higher financial costs, time and commitment required to implement this evaluation level.

Problems in evaluations process and how such problems can be avoided?

The accuracy of results is critical in any assessment, but Kirkpatrick’s model is regarded to be too focused on the outcome since it does not consider why some results appear because it is fully focused on what happens. To correct on this, it’s important to educate participants on various ways that information is used at various levels of evaluation. Once they understand the need and use of the data collected, they are more likely to be more truthful in their responses.

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The other problem encountered during evaluation is that much focus is usually directed to the participant (too focused on the learners) and very little attention is paid on important core business objectives. To counter this problem, there is need for sincere learning integration and performance managements as this will enhance teamwork, collaboration and a collaborative business focus mind will be achieved (Coulthard, 2005).

Discuss the pros and cons of accreditation

Accreditation adds benefits to the programme such that the programme is always worthy and able to administer quality programmes. Because of this it attracts highly qualified faculty and students due to its self study and cooperation from participants. Moreover its visibility is always honored globally by intellectuals and professionals in the field. However, accreditation is always given at a fee which is never included in the departmental budget; it also demands that certain programme be taught for it to be achieved. Moreover, a detailed account of all activities and programmes must be maintained and produced whenever it’s demanded (Lollis, 2010).

In conclusion, the major criticism of this model is mainly on its focus on training program versus stakeholders which can improve the application of Kirkpatrick’s model if implemented.


Chapman, A. (2009). Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation model: the four levels of learning evaluation. Web.

Coulthard, G. (2005). Critique of Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation. Web.

Lollis, S. (2010). Professionalism and accreditation. Web.

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