March 27, 2012

The New World Kirkpatrick Model

When the Kirkpatrick Model was developed in 1954, its successful implementation saw the four levels widely accepted as an industry standard approach to training evaluation strategy.

Fast-forward five plus decades, and the need to measure the success of learning interventions within organisations has not diminished. In fact, in the 21st century the need to demonstrate that training is a ‘value add’ activity is more important than ever before. Training budgets are being cut, work practices evolving and technology advancing at incredible rates. Now more than ever, Learning & Development teams need to be able to demonstrate that learning solutions improve performance and maximize results across the workforce.

Fortunately, the Kirkpatricks have been evolving right along with the rest of the world. The New World Kirkpatrick Model, developed by Don, Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick, with the help of a host of global Kirkpatrick ambassadors, has the answers the training industry desperately needs.

Some of the features of this supercharged model include:

– Strong business partnerships with business leaders as the cornerstones for success
– Beginning the training process with targeted, measurable business results
– Introducing return on expectations (ROE) as the ultimate method of? demonstrating the value of training
– A packaged or formula method to maximize results
– Connecting the levels in planning and practice, as opposed to evaluating them in ‘separate buckets’
– Broadening the concept of learning interventions to include all manner of support and accountability to increase on-the-job application
– The added concepts of required drivers at Level 3 and leading indicators at Level 4
– The creation of a ‘chain of evidence’ to show ultimate value

This significance of this shift in tradition is twofold. First, it moves our industry away from an emphasis on attempting to mathematically isolate a single component (the training event) in the formula for maximising learning and performance. Second, it leads our industry to a business-based rather than a training-based foundation.

Organisations will benefit by seeing learning professionals adding value beyond the traditional design, development and delivery of training events. The training industry will benefit by not only surviving, but thriving.

The continued evolution of Learning & Development professionals and approaches to workplace learning has seen a much greater shift in focus from training to performance. The impact of technology, especially social media, has seen new approaches adopted within the workplace that use the 70/20/10 framework to redefine learning in the organisation. This shift places more emphasis on learning on the job and away from traditional training in the sense of classroom-driven events and practices. These new approaches utilise collaboration and peer-to-peer sharing at the heart of improving workplace performance and capabilities.

The New World Kirkpatrick Model reflects these changes in workplace learning and still offers methods to demonstrate how any learning intervention or programme can be measured against a set of pre-determined objectives or critical success factors. Regardless of the approach and methods used, the theory and practices of the New World Kirkpatrick Model allow a clear strategy to be developed reflecting the different stages of delivery and execution with a focus on transferable knowledge and skills, and ultimately changes in performance and results.

I hope that this blog has piqued your interest to learn more about the newest Kirkpatrick methodology. I would be pleased to see you at one of our upcoming UK events. Kirkpatrick Partners and DPG plc will continue to do our best to be the ‘spark’. We are relying on you to be the ‘light’ for the training industry.


Jim Kirkpatrick is Senior Consultant at Kirkpatrick Partners

DPG deliver regular Kirkpatrick Evaluation programmes and you can check our latest programme dates on our Event Brite page. The option for in-house programmes for 6 or more people is also available for internal teams.

For more information on our programmes please email [email protected] or alternatively call 0330 660 0220 today.