Training Evaluation Mistake #4

May 8, 2013

Using the Kirkpatrick Levels Sequentially

The quiz question related to this week’s topic was:

It is important to complete the Kirkpatrick levels sequentially: start with Level 1 and complete it before moving to Level 2, then complete Level 2 and move to Level 3, and so on.

The correct response (false) only eluded 28% of the respondents. It’s great to see the word getting out that the most effective way to apply the Kirkpatrick Model is not by using the levels in strict order.  

Level 1 Does Not Always Come First

In fairness, earlier writings on the four levels indicated that they were used sequentially. Observation refuted this, though. For example, do you complete your Level 1 Reaction sheet at the end of the program and Level 2 Learning activities throughout the learning event? If so, you measure Level 2 before you measure Level 1.

The Four Levels are Not Created Equal

More importantly, we at Kirkpatrick Partners become concerned when we see an organization applying the same amount of rigor and effort to Level 1 that they do to Level 3. Level 1 typically should use the least resources, and Level 3 the most. When planning your training interventions, make sure that a generous amount of the resources are dedicated to on-the-job support, when people are in the critical phase of trying to apply a new skill.

Use the Four Levels in Reverse During Planning

This concept was mentioned in the tip on training evaluation mistake #1, but it’s so important that we want to say it again. When planning a training program, it’s critical to gain a clear vision of the desired end result and how the training will specifically impact it.

Starting with this high-level view brings the relative importance of Levels 1 and 2 into perspective. They are just a means to an end for supporting Levels 3 and 4.

Have a Question or Comment?

Thank you to those who have chimed in during this series. If you have something you would like to share, please log in and comment below. We welcome any of your questions and comments on this series, or on any training evaluation related topic.
Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certificate Program

Three Steps to Effectiveness

Training on Trial

The Brunei Window Washer: Bringing Business Partnership to Life

Kirkpatrick Then and Now

Transferring Learning to Behavior

Getting to Kirkpatrick Levels 3 and 4: Creating Believable Value (webinar)

Who Cares about Smile Sheets?

Scroll to top Arrow