Going Beyond The Kirk Patrick Model In Employee Training

A successful learning culture allows employees and managers to drive learning themselves.”

~David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte

Employee training is an inevitable part of organizational growth. Organizations, big and small, have to think about their training goals in order to harness the kind of success that they project for themselves over time. But the question is – How does one measure it?

The Kirkpatrick model – Measuring the effectiveness of your employee training

In today’s business environment, it is extremely important for organizations to analyze and measure the effectiveness of their training programs. Most trainings are not particularly effective as they are just pushed to trainees without really understanding their unique needs or taking into account the views of leaders who manage them.

Managers and leaders are now accountable for engagement, and HR has to be proactive and implement the right tools in order to give business leaders a continuous stream of data which enables them to make better decisions for the future, promote a culture of listening as well as ensure reward systems which are consistent with engagement and retention goals.

Donald Kirkpatrick first published his Four-Level Training Evaluation Model in 1959 in the US Training and Development Journal. The model was then updated in 1975 and again in 1994. The Kirkpatrick model essentially has four levels. Let’s look at each of them in detail.

The Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model is one of the most widely followed for conducting effective training programs as well as measuring its effectiveness. It also helps enterprises analyze the key areas that need work and improvement, so that the training programs can be improved in quality for the future.

The Kirk Patrick model has five levels which measure the effectiveness of any kind of training.

1. Level 1 – Satisfaction

2. Level 2 – Learning

3. Level 3 – Impact

4. Level 4 – Results

5. Level 5 – ROI


Capabiliti by Qustn is a mobile first SaaS platform, which has helped several enterprises train and assess their remote workforce. This article is an attempt to analyze how training solutions of Capabiliti helps its clients measure training effectiveness of their programs through the power of insightful analytics.

employee training

Capabiliti implements more than the Kirkpatrick model.

This article explores how Capabiliti’s platform has helped its clients measure the effectiveness of their trainings.

Level 1 – Satisfaction

This level focuses on how the trainees reacted to the training they undertook. This is crucial because it is important to know how the trainees felt about the overall training – did they like it? What is it that they did not agree to? Do they have some feedback regarding the kind of trainer or the content or the presentation venue? Such questions are important as the answers help to understand if the training was engaging enough and how was it received by the audience.

For a major telecom infrastructure company in India, Capabiliti conducted training feedback, where it asked trainees to submit their feedback on the following areas:

  1. Did they like the overall training program?

  2. Did they like the trainer being assigned to them?

  3. Did they like and understand the content?

  4. Did they like the venue and presentation style?

  5. Did the training session accommodate their personal learning styles?

Here is a report generated by Capabiliti on how the trainees reacted to the training they received. This covers things they liked about the training as well as things they would want as a part of their trainings in the future.

employee training

Level 2 – Learning

Every training session begins with the listing down of particular objectives – defining what exactly it aims at achieving. Does it want an increase in theoretical knowledge, does it aim at enhancing a particular skills set or does it want to bring about a change in attitude?  Has their knowledge actually increased as a result of the training. This level is also considered to be extremely important as it helps enterprises in knowing if their trainees are actually learning or not, and if not – what needs to improve?

Capabiliti has done this effectively for one of its clients by conducting assessments before and after the actual training. This method worked out very well in terms of understanding of the increase in knowledge before and after the training. The report revealed that such a system worked out very well in understanding caveats. The trainees also gave training feedback immediately after the training.

The scores below show the average scores before and after the training as well as their distribution.

employee training

Level 3 – Impact

One of the biggest concerns of trainers and those paying for training is whether the learners will indeed understand and apply the new information and materials from the learning and development activities, that is, whether the new information and materials will transfer to the learners or not.

This part focuses on understanding how far the behavior of trainees has changed on the basis of the training they just received. To put it in other words, this level looks at how trainees apply the information that they have learnt on the field. What comprises of behavior change here needs to be carefully defined.

  • Did the trainees put their learning to use?
  • Are the trainees in a position to teach the knowledge, skills or attitudes that they have acquired to other people?

How Capabilti overcomes the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

employee training

The famous Ebbinghaus Curve shows how much human beings retain information in their memory. Since it is much steeper than you can imagine, it is important to ensure that repetition is key to ensure trainees remeber what is being taught to them. Capabiliti deploys refreshers from time to time post training in order to keep the trainees engaged as well as keeps their retention levels high. These could be short videos or assessments that are pushed out to trainees at regular intervals to check their retention levels.

Capabiliti also has a feature of self-assessment as a part of this stage, wherein trainees assess themselves on various criteria on whether they have been able to apply their training on the field or not. Responses to this can be subjective as well, and anonymous responses help L&D professionals gather data on what part needs more work.

Managers also need to keep checking up on their employees at regular intervals to assure that they know the content and are in tandem with the objectives of the training program.

Here is one case which shows how the improvement in learning was seen the most in terms of knowledge with a 14% difference.

employee training

Level 4 – Results

This is the most difficult, costly and time-consuming level as it involves a host of challenges like identifying whether the outcomes and objectives that were laid out in the beginning were achieved or not. Some of the outcomes to consider could be greater retention levels, increase in productivity, higher morale amongst employees post training, higher quality ratings, higher engagement and the like. Insightful data from employee training can be helpful in deriving optimal results that lead to business growth and also align learning objectives to organizational goals.

Level 5 – ROI

Once the training is conducted, proper analytics can help L&D professionals understand how successful the training has actually been. Meaningful insights in the form of data at regular intervals can help suggest appropriate action to help maximize ROI in the long run.

Capabiliti has helped its client measure employee training effectiveness. Once the training is over, manager feedback is also taken at regular intervals to check retention of concepts.

Here is a look at a consolidated report that comes after every activity.

employee training

To sum up, having data-driven analytics by Capabiliti has helped its clients in the following ways:

  1. Measuring training effectiveness

  2. Leveraging the power of employee feedback

  3. Developing an understanding of people factors

  4. Personalized training and learning

  5. Driving higher engagement and increasing ROI on training

Experience it yourself here. Or get in touch with us to know more.

About the Author

Bhaswati B

Bhaswati is a Product Specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her 'me time' she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less-traveled places on the world map. Follow her @Bhaswatibh