Training Evaluation Mistake #7

May 29, 2013

Training Evaluation Mistake #7: Confusing Ability with Performance

Level 2 knowledge, skill, ability and competence – these are all valuable assets that typically require an investment of time, money and resources to obtain. They do not, however, ensure Level 3 on-the-job performance pay-off. Are you sure of the difference between the two?

60% of you selected the correct response (false) to the related question in the Training Evaluation Strategy quiz:

An example of a question that could be used to measure Level 3 after training is: I can apply the principles that I learned in training.

In program evaluation plans, we often see confusion about what constitutes Level 2 Learning and what constitutes Level 3 Behavior. Level 2 is the knowledge, skill or attitude required to do something. Level 3 is the performance of the skill on the job, in the course of real work. So Level 2 is being able to do something; Level 3 is actually doing it.

The critical difference between Level 2 and Level 3 is the difference between making an investment and obtaining the outputs. At Level 2, there is investment in the knowledge and skill of the training participant. This investment is realized if and when the learner applies that knowledge or those new skills on the job.

Define the Desired On-the-Job Performance

When creating your training plans, make sure you are clear on exactly what you want people to do on the job after training. Often, organizations have competencies and then fail to specify exactly how they should be used.

Define just a few critical behaviors you expect to see performed on the job as a result of what was invested in the training program. If you have trouble identifying behaviors, then question if the training is really needed, or if it is properly designed.

Link Learning to Performance

Create a series of questions that will link what is learned in training to the desired on-the-job performance.

Here’s an example for a leadership team communication program:

I understand the importance of fostering good team communication. (Level 2 knowledge)

I can demonstrate how to conduct a weekly team meeting. (Level 2 skill)

I hold a team meeting every week. (Level 3 behavior)

Join the Conversation

We welcome your questions and comments on this series, or any training evaluation related topic.

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Previous tips in this series

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certificate Program

Transferring Learning to Behavior

Getting to Kirkpatrick Levels 3 and 4 (recorded webinar)

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