Training Evaluation Methods

Published: 2021-06-29 06:55:35
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Two Approaches to Evaluation of Training:
Kirkpatrick's Model
And Brinkerhoff's Success Case Method




Nadine Schoenfelder
Student # 230079087
COMM 435 - Organizational Learning, Development and Training
Instructor: Allison Anderson
Due Date: March 27th, 2012


Two Approaches to Evaluation of Training:
Kirkpatrick's Model
And Brinkerhoff's Success Case Method
Evaluation of training is one of the main components of a training program. It can be defined as a systematic analysis of training which focuses on demonstrating whether training objectives have been accomplished in an effective and efficient manner. Because organizations invest substantial amounts of money in training, thorough training evaluation is as important as the design or implementation of training. This paper discusses two evaluations of training methodologies: Kirkpatrick's Model and Brinkerhoff's Success Case Method. It also discusses how they can be applied as well as their advantages and disadvantages. Kirkpatrick's Model was developed decades ago but is still one of the most popular and important evaluation models. It consists of four levels which are successional and increasing in importance as well as complexity. Level 1, reaction, measures training participant's feelings and is often called "a measure of customer satisfaction". Level 2, learning, measures if knowledge is learned, skills are learned and/or increased, and attitudes changed. The third level, behavior, links training to results and measures the transfer of learning to the job. The last level, results, is the most important and challenging part because it measures how much (if any) improvement is due to training tangibly and intangibly.
Brinkerhoff's Success Case Method (SCM) is a newer approach to evaluation of training and is based on the ancient craft of storytelling. It has two major parts: surveys and interviews. In order to conduct a SCM study, organizations first plan the study and create an impact model which determines the optimal outcomes of training. Afterwards, surveys determine the most and least successful training cases which are then interviewed. Last, a final report is produced which should provide the organization with insights if the training objectives were accomplished or not and why or why not.
This paper discusses further the advantages and disadvantages of both, Kirkpatrick's Model and Brinkerhoff's SCM. Although Kirkpatrick's Model is simple and effective, evaluation level 3 and 4 (behavior and results) can be very complex and time-consuming. Yet Brinkerhoff's SCM is quick and simple, it lacks comprehensiveness and consistency. First, in order to understand the purpose of Kirkpatrick's and Brinkerhoff's approach, one must understand what evaluation of training is and why it should be implemented.
Evaluation is commonly defined as the "systematic determination of merit, worth, and significance of something or someone using criteria against a set of standards" (Wikipedia, 2012). Therefore, the evaluation of training can be defined as a systematic analysis of training which focuses on demonstrating whether training objectives have been accomplished in an effective and efficient manner. Although the evaluation of training is listed as the last step in the training process model (Thacker and Blanchard, 2006, p. 6), it actually begins during the development phase of training and is an ongoing process from then on.

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