Inspiration for Successful Program Implementation

September 27, 2017

Cyndee Gorkowski, an L&D manager and winner of last year’s ATD Valley of the Sun Don Kirkpatrick Scholarship, was awarded complimentary attendance in a Kirkpatrick bronze level program.

This week, Cyndee shares her second update after applying what she learned in the program to a large training initiative within her company.

Through Cyndee’s story of successful training for more than 4,000 employees, you’ll learn how program preparation can pay off for you, too.

I completed the Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level about nine months ago. These theories became a helpful resource as we moved through our four-week training roll-out and software implementation.

My previous update mentioned our directive to train over 4,000 employees on a new software program. We determined that the largest portion of learners would be instructed through web-based courses, while the centralized units would be trained with a combination of instructor-led training (ILT) and web-based courses in order to address their specialized job function.

As we rolled out the training over the four-week span, we ran into some unexpected situations. As difficult as these surprises were, it became apparent how getting our business partners involved early on was a positive piece that assisted with our success.

Preparation and Communication

As mentioned in my first post, we asked representatives from each area to participate and be part of our Training Advisory Group. We held monthly meetings and shared material to make sure this group of individuals stayed involved and informed of our progress. We designed a “Toolkit” and asked that they share this information with their team. It outlined the expectations and accomplishments that would need to take place for the coming weeks. It outlined their Role as Manager, Training Courses, Events and Activities, Training Dates, Expected Time Needed to Complete the Courses, a Week-by-Week Calendar of Upcoming Communications and FAQs.

It also included information about the new Learning Game. We explained that this was a specially designed learning game that could be a vital tool in the training process. Since a large majority of individuals would not receive hands-on experience before the actual transition occurred, the game was another way to test their comprehension with the new system.  We asked the managers to allow time for their team to engage in the game and encourage them to use it. The learning game turned out to be one of the highlights of the training. It was timed and produced a score at the end. Their highest score was turned in each Friday, and we identified 1st – 3rd place winners who were announced weekly. There were small prizes given weekly, and at the end of the 4th week, a grand prize winner was chosen. Some managers used this as leverage to get their entire unit competing.

Ready, Set, Go – Training begins

  • Touch Points
    To address questions and listen to any concerns from the participants, we set up a designated email box specifically for the project. We posted this email link on our training webpage so anyone could quickly reach out for an answer. We conducted morning and afternoon weekly WebExs to demonstrate helpful tips and tools on maneuvering through the system. This gave individuals the opportunity to ask questions about specific topics. These were recorded and posted on our training website.
  • The Unexpected
    Once the web-based training was launched, we quickly found that the program in which it was assigned through our Learning Management System was causing grief for the participants. Even though some employees knew how to move through the courses, there were some that were uncertain on where to click to progress to the next course in the LMS program. This was a “scope creep” we did not anticipate, and we wanted to address it immediately. A mass email went out to all users that displayed step-by-step processes on how to maneuver through this new program.

Behavior — Did they learn?

Training was complete and implementation time was here. A call center was established, which included System Experts, Lead Trainers and SMEs, to prepare for the numerous calls we expected to receive. In addition, we had individuals physically sitting with the specialized groups to assist with their processes. We anticipated and planned for a large number of calls for the first 30 days, with continued support for up to 90 days.

On day one, we had 1800 people sign into the new program. We knew one of the quickest ways to determine the success of the training was by what type of calls and how many came into this call center. On day one, we only had around 20 calls. We assumed this was a fluke and expected it to continue to increase over the week. This was not the case. The calls continued to be low, and the number of questions coming through the designated mailbox was also low. This continued through the week, so after week two, they decided to release the trainers so they could go back to their regular routine, while still continuing to help man the email box from their desks.  

During this timeframe, daily meetings were held with stakeholders to communicate questions coming through the call center. The low number of calls added to a sense of great success. They knew there would be other areas to tackle as things materialized that were system related, but at least we felt the training delivered its intention – even with the unexpected frustration of the LMS program. The hard work and numerous hours preparing for this implementation was time well spent.


I can’t tell you how many times I referred to the material I obtained from the Kirkpatrick training I attended months ago. The resources on their website have also been  instrumental as they remind me of key points I learned in the class. And we are not done yet – over the next few years, we will be implementing two more major software releases. I look forward to continuing to incorporate this training methodology in our training process as we move forward.

Thank you, Jim and Wendy, for this certification program!

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Have you been tasked with tackling a large training initiative? What contributed to your success? What could you have done differently to improve? Let us know. Here are some ways to join the discussion. 

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Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation

Is Level 3 Enough?

Do You Live Your Level 4 Results?

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