Crucial to any effort at improving performance is knowing whether the effort worked. Alas, all too often organizations use what my friend John Howe calls hallway evaluations:
“Where were you yesterday?”
“Oh, I was in the Widget Appreciation training.”
“How was it?”
Will Thalheimer offers a fair-assessment quick-audit tool (the link is to his post; the post links to a one-page PDF) that refers to Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation.
My informal summary of Kirkpatrick:
- Level 1: Did they like it? This is the reaction-sheet, smiles-test evaluation. On a scale of 1 to 5, what did you think of the course? The materials? The instructor? The doughnuts?
- Level 2: Did they learn it? The evaluation seeks to measure a change in learning — e.g., compares a pretest to a posttest.
- Level 3: Do they use it? When the learners return to the job, do they apply the skills and knowledge learned in training?
- Level 4: Does it work? When people do apply the skills and knowledge on the job, does the organization realize the intended benefits?