Saturday, October 16, 2021
The Kirkpatrick Methodology - A Brief History Minimize

The Kirkpatrick Model has evolved over multiple decades through application by learning and development professionals around the world.

In 1954, Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on evaluation of training for industrial supervisors. Like most training and development professionals, he had a genuine desire to know if his training was making a difference for the supervisors he trained, their direct reports, and the organizations in which they worked. He applied four steps he learned from Dr. Raymond Katzell, a prominent psychology researcher at the time. He refers to Katzell’s four steps in a 1956 article on training evaluation.

In 1959, Don was contacted by the organization now known as the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and asked to write an article about the training evaluation work he did for his dissertation. He wrote four articles, entitled Reaction, Learning, Behavior and Results.

Over the next decade unbeknownst to Don, the articles circulated, and training professionals around the world used and adapted his ideas. Someone whose identity is unknown called the words levels, and someone dubbed it The Kirkpatrick Model. Don became aware of these things sometime in the 1970s. Since then, the Kirkpatrick Model has become the industry standard for training evaluation.

In the 1990s, Don was asked to write a book to expand on the original four articles. He went on to write two additional books on the topic.

In 2008, Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick and Wendy Kirkpatrick created the Kirkpatrick Business Partnership Model, an expansion of the original four levels, as discussed in their book Training on Trial. They created the Kirkpatrick Foundational Principles to explain the key beliefs underpinning Kirkpatrick evaluation.

In 2010, Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick clarified the original intent of the Kirkpatrick four levels with the New World Kirkpatrick Model.

                    See the Kirkpatrick Model
                    See the New World Kirkpatrick Model
                    Read the Kirkpatrick Foundational Principles

                    Learn about Return on Expectations

                    Review the Glossary of Kirkpatrick Terms

Stephen Covey's Comments Minimize

"Kirkpatrick’s four levels is the best I’ve ever seen in evaluating training effectiveness. It is sequentially integrated and comprehensive. It goes far beyond ‘smile sheets’ into actual learning, behavior changes and actual results, including long-term evaluation. An outstanding model!”

Stephen R. Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me

Learn More Minimize

Learn more about the Kirkpatrick Model and our guiding principles in our Resources Library.

Ready for more? Register for an upcoming Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program - Bronze Level for hands-on learning and implementation.

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Review Our Glossary Minimize

If any of the terminology that you see on our website seems unfamiliar, try reviewing the Kirkpatrick Glossary of Terms.

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