What does SCM offer to training groups that is missing from analysis using the Kirkpatrick Model?
There are four main information segments that are used in the framework of Kirkpatrick’s approach: reaction-related, learning-related, behavior-related, and results-related data (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2007). Each data level, in its turn, measures the degree of participants’ involvement and positive achievements. Hence, for instance, the first level evaluates “to what degree participants react favorably to the training” (Kalman, 2013, p.19).
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This method relies on the three principal sources of information: the employees from different departments, such as HR, line managers, and outside consultants. It should be noted that Kirkpatrick’s approach does not contradict the basic concept of the SCM methodology that is mainly aimed at collecting and analyzing the information associated with the impact of training (Brinkerhoff, 2006). Broadly speaking, SCM methodology implies studying all the factors that influence the training outcomes either positively or negatively. Thus, it might be suggested that the information collected within Kirkpatrick’s method is more narrow-focused; hence, it is a part of the wide scope of data that SCM methodology examines.
Training groups need the information collected through the SCM approach in order to improve their programs. As long as the data collected at every level is initially differentiated, trainers receive a chance to determine the most problematic aspect of their programs.
The findings retrieved from the relevant evaluations allow managers to indicate the most critical drawbacks of the existing problems and eliminate them in a timely manner. Thus, Kalman (2013) points out that those organizations that use Kirkpatrick’s approach report that trainers that participate in this evaluation become more professional, they “enter the instructional role with a deep understanding of the skills required to perform” (p.21). It is also important that the information might be collected in the course of the program so that the essential change can be performed right on a real-time basis and not afterward.
Using SCM to Improve Kirkpatrick Level 3 and 4 Analysis
In the framework of Kirkpatrick’s model, Level 3 and 4 are aimed at evaluating behavior and results. Therefore, it is, first and foremost, essential to target the desired outcomes that the newly-promoted first-level managers are supposed to receive. Otherwise, the fourth level will be completed on a retrospective basis, adjusting the results to the expectations. It is also suggested that at the third level, the information is collected through SCM surveys and interviews. Brinkerhoff (2006) notes that these data collection tools are particularly useful for assessing the extent to which employees apply the acquired knowledge to their performance.
Moreover, it is recommended that level 3 and 4 do not only evaluate the targeted information but also aim to assess its impact degree. Otherwise stated, it is proposed that while evaluating the behavior, it is critical to indicate to what extent the newly-promoted managers rely on the preceding training in their activity. Likewise, while examining the outcomes meeting the initial expectations, it is important to measure the extent of the compliance.
While working with the fourth level, Brinkerhoff (2006) also suggests indicating the value of the positive results and comparing it with the costs (p.155). Otherwise stated, the evaluation process should comprise the cost-effectiveness test as well.
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Lastly, it assumed critical to indicate the so-called “unrealized value” while measuring levels 3 and 4. In other words, it is important to focus not only on the positive aspects but on those that were overlooked but can be potentially improved in the future.
Brinkerhoff, R.O. (2006). Telling Training’s Story: Evaluation Made Simple, Credible, and Effective. San Francisco, California: Berrett-Koehler.
Kalman, F. (2013). Special report: Metrics and measurement. Web.
Kirkpatrick, D.L., & Kirkpatrick, J.D. (2007). Implementing the Four Levels: A Practical Guide for Effective Evaluation of Training Programs. San Francisco, California: Berrett-Koehler.