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Implementing the Four Levels

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Implementing the Four Levels

A Practical Guide for Effective Evaluation of Training Programs


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Discover how your training programs can strengthen your bottom line.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


This practical guide, a companion to Donald Kirkpatrick’s Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels, provides a framework for putting his system into practice. The book assumes a prior knowledge of the four-level system, but demonstrates how to determine which programs to evaluate and at which level to pitch the evaluation, and how to gather the right evidence and present it in a compelling format. The authors provide many examples of every form they discuss in the book and emphasize the importance of following each level in sequence. The style of writing is rather repetitive and could have been better edited, but the advice is sound. getAbstract recommends this guide to all those involved in learning and development, such as trainers, training designers and managers.


Resources for Evaluation

You must be aware of the resources available to you before you can evaluate your training programs. The decision is easy if your training department has a dedicated evaluator. If not, look to the training department, the human resources department or relevant line management. Of course, you can hire an outside consultant, but they can break your training budget.

However, before you start any evaluation, ensure that the training your company delivers is of a high enough quality. A good program needs to follow 10 steps:

  1. “Base the program on the needs of participants” – The easiest way to do this is to ask them what they want and expect from you.
  2. “Set learning objectives” – Convert the stated needs into intentions of what the students will learn.
  3. “Schedule the program at the right time” – The trainees are the customers. Plan the sessions for a time and place convenient for them, rather than for the instructor.
  4. “Hold the program at the right place with the right amenities” – A lavish resort setting may distract from learning and deplete your training...

About the Authors

Donald L. Kirkpatrick is the author of six books and is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin. James D. Kirkpatrick is co-author of Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels and Transferring Learning to Behavior.

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