After creating the Four Levels of Evaluation more than 50 years ago, Don Kirkpatrick recently announced his retirement. His “swan song” took place the end of May in Orlando at the ASTD national conference when he conducted his final workshops on the four levels. He reminisced with Training about the evolution of the four levels:
“Can you believe that my four articles on Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results were printed in ASTD’s Training & Development journal more than 50 years ago? Immediately, they began to get the attention of training people. Some called them the ‘four levels,’ while others named them the ‘Kirkpatrick Model’ for evaluating training programs.
I had not called them either one. They were based on my 1954 dissertation for my Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin and research I had done between 1954 and 1959.
It wasn’t until 1993 that the first book was written when a friend, Jane Holcomb, suggested it because interested trainers could not find copies of the original articles.
The first book was called simply, ‘Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels.’ It contained not only descriptions and guidelines, but also case studies of 16 organizations that had implemented one or more of the levels.
My son, Jim, and I then wrote the book, ‘Transferring Learning to Behavior’ (2005), emphasizing how to be sure the learning would be applied on the job and how to evaluate the extent to which it happened. Our third book, ‘Implementing The Four Levels’ (2007), was designed to simplify the evaluation of the four levels by including examples, forms, and procedures from various organizations for evaluating each level. The latest book on the subject is ‘Training On Trial,’ written by Jim and his wife, Wendy, and published in 2010 by AMACOM.”
To read the full-length article, visit http://trainingmag.com/article/story-four-levels-evaluation. Interested in owning an autographed transparency Don Kirkpatrick used in one of his workshops? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.