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  • How to Use Kirkpatrick's 4 Levels of Evaluation

    The Kirkpatrick’s Model for evaluation has been the gold standard for decades. It stands as an indispensable framework for trainers, facilitators and educators across various industries. If you’re just stepping onto the L&D wagon, this guide is a must-have. Let’s demystify the four fundamental levels of evaluation – Reaction, Learning, Behavior and Results – with practical explanations, examples, and tips on collecting and analyzing data. Table on Contents: What is the Kirkpatrick Model? Brief History and Evolution of the Model Why Use the Kirkpatrick Model? The Value of Learning Measurement and Evaluation Level 1: Reaction Level 2: Learning Level 3: Behavior Level 4: Results Conclusion What is the Kirkpatrick Model? The Kirkpatrick Model has been the standard for learning evaluation for many decades now. But don’t let its simplicity fool you – it sure packs a punch. There are 4 levels at which you would evaluate the learning: Level 1 is the " Reaction ," which is all about first impressions: did the learners enjoy the learning/training? Level 2, " Learning " – did they actually learn something? Level 3, " Behavior ” – like a detective, you're looking for evidence of changed behavior back at the workplace. Level 4, " Results ", is the grand finale—did the training make a significant impact on the business? Brief History and Evolution of the Model Picture Donald Kirkpatrick as the Albert Einstein of the L&D world. Way back in the 1950s, he had an "aha!" moment and devised this four-level framework. Initially used by the U.S. Army, it soon caught on like wildfire and has been the go-to standard for learning evaluation ever since. Yep, it's the "Beatles" of training evaluation models—timeless and still rocking! Why Use the Kirkpatrick Model? Wondering why you should jump on the Kirkpatrick bandwagon? Imagine building a house without a blueprint; you wouldn't know where to start or what to focus on. The Kirkpatrick Model is your blueprint for building a bulletproof learning program. It helps you focus on what's crucial at each stage, from learner satisfaction all the way up to business impact. The Value of Learning Measurement and Evaluation Measuring and evaluating training is like being a detective — you're collecting clues to solve the mystery of "Is this training actually working?" The Kirkpatrick Model gives you the tools to turn those clues into a compelling story, full of twists and turns, that ends with a satisfying conclusion: impactful learning that benefits everyone. Evaluating learning and training helps you know what works, what doesn’t, and how to allocate resources for maximum impact. Level 1: Reaction What is it? Level 1 evaluates the initial reactions learners have to your learning event (be that a training, workshop or an online course). It is like the "trailer" for a blockbuster movie – it gives you a quick glimpse of what the audience thinks, but it's not the whole story. How to collect it? The most common way is to utilize the so-called “happy sheets”. A simple post-course survey will do the trick – be that on a piece of paper or an online questionnaire. For the latter, you can use paid services like SurveyMonkey or the free Google Forms. Example Questions How satisfied are you with the training? (Not at all satisfied – Completely satisfied) How relevant was the content to your job? (Not at all relevant – Completely relevant) How likely are you to recommend this session to your colleagues? (Not at all likely – Extremely likely) How can we improve this session in the future? How to analyze it? There are two types of data you’d normally collect at this stage – quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative data looks at numerical values (9 out of 10 people would recommend the session) and qualitative data analyses text (3 people recommend increasing the length of the session). No need for a Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass here. Simple statistical methods, like calculating the mean (the average score, where you add up all the numerical values of the responses and then divide them by the number of responses) and mode (the value that occurs most often), can give you a clear snapshot of the general sentiment. And don't overlook the qualitative feedback; it's often where the real gems lie. Level 2: Learning What is it? At Level 2 we need to figure out what kind of learning actually took place. We want to know if they’ve acquired the skills, knowledge, and attitudes the learning session aimed to instill. That is, if they attended a Conflict Resolution webinar, do they now know how to solve conflict? Level 2 is all about making sure the training isn't just a flashy show but offers substantial learning value. Think of it as ensuring your learners leave the 'classroom theater' with a toolkit, not just a bag of popcorn. How to collect it? There is a multitude of ways to collect Learning data: quizzes, interviews, role-playing exercises, interactive eLearning modules, and so on. Example Questions Can you list the three main components of our new software? How would you handle a disgruntled customer based on what you learned? Which of these strategies would best optimize our workflow? How to analyze it? At this stage, you need to be more methodical. You can look at the quiz questions to determine which ones were most effective and least effective. Or use pre- and post-assessment comparisons to measure the learning changes and (hopefully) gains. Level 3: Behavior What is it? It’s not enough to know your learners have gained new skills and knowledge. At Level 3 you need to understand whether their behaviors have changed in the long-term. Does it translate into real-world effectiveness? Did your educational efforts arrive at a meaningful destination? How to collect it? Measuring behavioral change can be challenging, to say the least. But not impossible! You can think of this as being a paparazzi, where you discreetly ‘snap photos’ of performance to catch learners in the act – positive or otherwise. The methods you can use for this are observations, performance reviews, feedback from peers and managers (collected in a survey or through interviews), and so on. Example Questions What changes have you observed in productivity/performance since completing the training? How successfully is the team using the new communication methods introduced in the training? How many safety incidents have you reported since the new protocol was learned? How to analyze it? To measure the behavioral change, you need to correlate performance metrics with specific training components to see what’s influencing what. This is where the challenge lies – there are a lot of influencing factors affecting performance and you need to make a strong connection between the learning that took place and the performance that has changed. For this, you can look at both quantitative data (like sales figures, customer NPS scores, etc.) and qualitative data (like peer reviews or manager feedback) for a more holistic picture. Level 4: Results What is it? There is a reason Level 4 evaluation is at the top of the pyramid. At this stage, we need to evaluate the ultimate impact of the training program on organizational goals and bottom-line metrics – think of the likes of performance, revenue, and retention. It's like seeing if the training not only led the horse to water but also made a meaningful difference in the overall health of the herd. So, Level 4 is where the whole journey comes together, proving that your training is not just a 'good to have' but a meaningful contributor to organizational success. How to collect it? To collect data at this level, you'll need to go beyond quick snapshots and invest in a long-exposure capture of key performance indicators (KPIs). This could involve an in-depth review of quarterly financial reports, customer satisfaction surveys, or other relevant data that align with the intended outcomes of the training. Example Questions How has the training impacted revenue? What impact did the leadership program have on employee engagement? What changes to customer satisfaction can be attributed to the training? How to analyze it? The analysis phase at Level 4 is where you'll put on your detective hat. You're not merely looking for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down; you're piecing together the narrative of how training has—or hasn't—propelled the organization forward. This involves scrutinizing the data meticulously and perhaps employing more complex statistical methods to draw substantive conclusions about the training's ROI. Want to learn more about measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) for learning? Check out our Quick Guide to Measuring the ROI of Learning . Conclusion And that’s all you need to know about Kirkpatrick’s Learning Evaluation Model. By now, you should have a well-rounded grasp of how to apply this framework to measure the effectiveness of your learning programs. For those new to the field of Learning and Development, this is not just theoretical knowledge — this is your actionable blueprint. So, dive in and start implementing the Kirkpatrick Model in your learning projects. We'd love to hear how it goes! Please share your experiences, challenges, or questions in the comments section below. After all, the journey of learning and development is one best traveled together. Happy evaluating!

  • 7 Tips for a Winning Learning and Development Strategy

    The beginning of the year is a perfect time for a fresh start, not only when it comes to personal goals, but also in the context of corporate objectives. This is usually where most companies begin their employee goal-setting cycle. And what better time than to set the L&D direction for the year as well? Still not there yet? Unsure how to go about it? Don't worry. In this article, we offer seven practical tips for creating a learning and development strategy. Table of contents: What is a learning and development strategy? Who should be involved? 7 essential components to an L&D strategy Tip 1. Map out your learning plan to suit your business goals Tip 2. Shape your plan from the top down Tip 3. Research current trends Tip 4. Gather employee feedback Tip 5. Define success metrics Tip 6. Identify learning priorities Tip 7. Design a Learning Strategy roadmap What is a learning and development strategy? A good L&D strategy is a treasure map that leads the organisation to reach higher profitability through employees development. It can be used as a tool for improving productivity and motivating staff. A learning and development strategy is essentially a plan or roadmap for your employees to learn new skills and develop their talents. It is meant to help your business grow by optimizing the abilities of your workers. Who should be involved? Ideally, Learning and Development strategies should be created by several people, not just one person. Let's start with the L&D team . While it might be tempting to take on the role of creating and implementing a company’s L&D strategy, a solo approach can lead to many problems. For example, team members may feel as though they aren't being listened to or that their ideas are not being taken seriously – which could result in frustration in the team and a dip in motivation levels. By inviting everyone, you ensure they have been included in the process. The team will benefit from some fresh ideas, and members will be much more invested and interested in carrying out the L&D plan. That being said, if you believe some of the team members might find this challenging or are perhaps too junior or new to the company, then you might want to limit the group to the L&D leadership team or more senior employees. Apart from L&D, you also need to align with some key figures in human resources , like the HR Business Partners, Talent Acquisition, Organisation Development, and others. Each of these roles will give you a unique perspective of the business, its strategy, vision, and mission. And speaking of the business , remember to include them as well. After all, your plan will heavily involve them, so it is only fair that they have a say too. Consider including in the process formal and informal leaders , managers and supervisors , and, of course, a representative sample of employees . 7 Tips for a Winning L&D strategy 1. Map out your learning plan to suit the business goals A good training strategy is not only about learning , it is also about performance . So, before you start planning any training and development activities, you need to identify how they will contribute to achieving your company's business goals. To do this, start by asking yourself: What are your company’s business goals? - Have these been communicated already by Senior Management and do you fully understand them? If not, it's worthwhile to sit with a member of HR or Management, if possible, and go through them to make sure you fully understand where the company is heading and how it will get there. What are the individual departmental business goals? - You don't need to go into details here, but it's helpful to understand what are some of the big-ticket items for each of the major departments in the company. For example, does Customer Service plan on introducing a new tool for messaging clients? If yes, that would mean the affected staff will need to be trained. How do goals translate into employee success criteria? - What skills or knowledge would be needed for employees to be able to complete their individual goals successfully? If productivity needs to be raised by X%, then employees would benefit from productivity training or tools to help them achieve that. Now that you know what needs improving and why, it’s time to map out a plan that will help us get there. 2. Shape your plan from the top down Work with your leadership team to set the right tone. The best way to get your learning roadmap off the ground is by setting the right expectations and culture cascading from the top down. This means getting as much feedback as possible on your designs from both the Leadership team and HR . And then, of course, incorporating that feedback. Remember that they are not learning experts, so be prepared to defend your ideas or push back where you need to. At the end of the day, they are your customer - it is their employees you are designing the L&D roadmap for, so listening to their suggestions and concerns is important, but it is you, who should take an expert position and consult them accordingly. 3. Research current trends Take some time to understand what is happening outside the organization. Not just in general or in the industry that your company operates in, but also in the realm of L&D specifically. Are there trends you need to be aware of? New technologies you might want to look into? Or developments in L&D that may be attractive to current and potential new employees? Introducing (or at least researching) new learning trends should always be a pillar in your strategy, especially if you want to keep up with the times and become or remain a competitive employer. 4. Gather employee feedback When employees are made to feel that the company not only listens to them but implements their suggestions, it makes them feel empowered, motivated and engaged. The voice of your learners is extremely important, especially if you want to inspire them to learn. Consider introducing an annual learning survey to ask what they'd like to learn, how they prefer to learn, what they see as obstacles to learning, etc. Similar to an employee engagement survey, it can show any areas of concern and give you ideas on how to improve your current learning portfolio. 5. Define success metrics Whenever I am tasked with a big project and wonder where to start, I tell myself, "start with the end in mind". In other words – know what your ideal outcome should look like and reverse-engineer the steps to get there. And to be able to define and measure this ideal outcome, you would need some metrics. They will help you assess whether you're on or off track. Some metrics you might want to observe are: Learning/training satisfaction - how happy your learners are immediately after the learning event Return of Investment (ROI) - what was the business impact compared to the money you put into the learning intervention Learning cost per employee - how much it costs to provide learning opportunities to someone (these could be training, coaching, webinars, access to online courses, etc.) Retention - do employees stay with the company because of development opportunities Net Promoter Score (NPS) - would your learners recommend the learning intervention to their colleagues You can get this data by introducing surveys pre- and post-learning, by conducting focus group interviews or by extracting it from your Learning Management System (LMS), if your company has one. 6. Identify learning priorities Once you've done your research and initial analysis, you're ready to start creating a plan for the year. A guiding question here should be "What are the core learning needs of the business?" Depending on how big the company is and how ambitious its business goals are, you might end up with a lot of learning needs that need addressing. How do you tackle this? The answer is - prioritizing. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. Start by looking for learning needs that have the biggest impact on the business and are the most urgent. For example, these could be areas with the biggest number of people needing training, the poorest performance results, serious performance issues, etc. 7. Design a Learning Strategy roadmap No matter how good your strategy may look on paper, it's worthless unless you have a plan for how to turn it into action. Make sure you break it down into specific projects and assign people and timelines to each. Tools like Asana can help you visualize your plan better and keep track of all ongoing learning projects and contributors. You can start with a template and customize it to fit your needs: You don’t have to go and sign up for yet another tool, though. Your L&D strategy can live on an MS Word document or an MS Excel sheet. As long as it has themes , actions , owners , and deadlines , it’s an actual strategy. As you set out to create your company's learning and development strategy, remember it is crucial for helping employees reach their potential. A well-thought-out plan will help you support your employees’ development more effectively, which will ultimately lead them to perform better in their roles and boost your company’s overall success.

  • The Future of L&D: Top Emerging Career Paths

    It is commonplace for business leaders and company owners to constantly ask, “What’s next for us?”. Yet this isn’t a question we often hear in Learning & Development. It’s hard to say for certain how L&D needs to adapt, even though a lot of organizations try (see the sources list at the bottom). But predicting the future can be hard, especially when we are constantly surrounded by rapid change. It seems the best we can hope for is to make an educated guess about the emerging roles in Learning and Development. Which is exactly what we will do in this article. Considerations for L&D What L&D will do depends on what the organization and its employees need. According to the different research and our experience in the past few years, we can make several assumptions: There is a shift towards work from home and hybrid (41%), yet the majority of people (59%) still work from an office or on location. Aligning to business objectives is still the top priority for L&D. Which often comes down to “let’s make more money with fewer costs”. Learning is deemed valuable for career development but it needs to be approachable and meaningful. Everyone has a unique career journey, and therefore, their learning experience needs to be personalized. AI and other new technologies are here to stay. It is often cheaper to promote someone internally (aka internal mobility) than to hire someone from outside and train them. Employees need to be equipped with the necessary competencies to help them make vertical or lateral career moves internally. Emerging roles in L&D With all of the above in mind, what are the roles that will help organizations gain and/or keep their competitive advantage? Let’s explore the 3 roles we believe will become popular in the near future. Personal Learning Experience Designer Personal Learning Experience Designers will focus on crafting tailored learning pathways that cater to the unique needs and career goals of individual employees. The role might also be called Personal Career Consultant. They will work closely with employees to identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and aspirations, then design personalized development plans that incorporate various learning methods and tools. For example, imagine a marketing assistant who aspires to become a digital marketing strategist. The designer might create a custom curriculum that includes online courses, mentoring sessions, and practical projects to help the assistant acquire the necessary skills and knowledge. Learning AI Specialist You can really go nuts with this role! A Learning AI Specialist will leverage artificial intelligence to enhance and streamline the learning process within organizations. They might develop and implement AI-driven tools that can analyze personal learning data, predict training needs, and offer personalized content recommendations. For instance, imagine there is an internal system that can spit out a personalized learning path based on your career goals. Want to become a senior? Here’s what you need to do. Want to step into a leadership role? Check out these activities you can do to get ready. And everything you do is tracked and analyzed (why not even gamified?) to help you see your progress and maintain your motivation… especially when the going get tough! Hybrid L&D Facilitator This is something a lot of use currently do, even if we don’t use a fancy name for it. Hybrid L&D Facilitators will play a crucial role in bridging the gap between remote and in-person training and development. They will design and deliver learning experiences that are effective and engaging for both remote and on-site employees, ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality training regardless of their location. Here’s a fun example – the facilitator organizes a blended learning workshop where remote participants join via a virtual platform while in-person attendees participate on-site. The first group has to do something (i.e., solve a puzzle or discuss a case study) that can be used by the in-person group to then go on a scavenger hunt or do a role play. They use interactive tools like virtual breakout rooms and collaborative whiteboards to foster engagement and collaboration among all participants. What’s next? While this exercise in creativity is certainly fun, we need to remember that that’s all it is for now. Time will tell if any of these will become mainstream. And if they do, remember – you heard it here first, folks! J The future of L&D is brimming with potential, but it must adapt and align with business priorities to survive. If it does not, it risks losing its value and relevance, and business leaders will stop seeking its support. The emerging roles we highlight here promise to revolutionize professional development. But are you ready to embrace the change?  How can you ensure L&D remains a value-adding function in our organizations? Let us know your comments down below. ---- Sources: Barrero, J.M., Bloom, N. and Davis, S.J., 2021. Why working from home will stick. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 28731. [pdf] Available at: https://wfhresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/WFHResearch_updates_June2024.pdf [Accessed June 2024]. CIPD, 2023. Learning at work 2023. [online] Available at: https://www.cipd.org/en/knowledge/reports/learning-at-work/ [Accessed June 2024]. Erickson, R., Moulton, D., Cleary, B., 2018. Are you overlooking your greatest source of talent?. [online] Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/deloitte-review/issue-23/unlocking-hidden-talent-internal-mobility.html [Accessed June 2024]. Haan, K., 2023. Remote Work Statistics And Trends In 2024. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/remote-work-statistics/ [Accessed June 2024]. Kotter, J., 2023. What’s next for learning and development: The past, present, and future of training in a hybrid world. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2023/04/24/whats-next-for-learning-and-development-the-past-present-and-future-of-training-in-a-hybrid-world/ [Accessed June 2024]. LinkedIn, 2024. LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2024. [pdf] Available at: https://learning.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/amp/learning-solutions/images/wlr-2024/LinkedIn-Workplace-Learning-Report-2024.pdf [Accessed June 2024]. Taylor, D.H., Vinauskaite, E., 2024. AI in L&D: From talk to action. [online] Available at: https://donaldhtaylor.co.uk/research_base/focus02-talk-to-action/ [Accessed June 2024].

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  • Newsletter | The L&D Academy

    Good things come to those who join our newsletter. They say sharing is caring and we care about our subscribers, so every month we send out a newsletter, full of practical, helpful information on anything and everything L&D. SOUNDS GOOD! What you can expect: Roundup of everything Newly released videos and our latest blog posts. Free goodies Links to download free printable L&D templates. Discount codes Be the first to know when a sale is happening or a new course is released. Sign me up!

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