Impressions of Kirkpatrick Webinar

Don Kirkpatrick

Don Kirkpatrick is not the sourpuss the photo, posted to announce this webinar with the legendary icon, portrayed. Rather, he presented today as a warm, gracious, humble elderly gentleman, more like this photo. His role today was to trace the nearly 50-year history of the evaluation model that bears his name. The Kirkpatrick Levels of Evaluation began as part of his second Ph.D. in education to add to one in business leadership. His key research agenda was evaluation. In 1959 he wrote a series of four articles in which he broke evaluation into four parts: reaction, learning, behavior, and results. He said he never personally identified them as “levels.” In the intervening years, his model gained recognition and renown. One purpose for today’s webinar was to highlight his organization’s current focus. Now run by his son and daughter-in-law, Kirkpatrick Parters is tackling the struggles many organizations experience with Levels Three and Four of the Kirkpatrick Model. They call it “the new world levels.”

Their focus is to demonstrate value of Training Effectiveness. They find that most organizations deal with Levels One and Two well, but shy away from, lack the courage to fully confront Levels 3 and 4. Throughout the webinar the Kirkpatricks emphasized two key elements:

  1. The End is the Beginning. So, they stress beginning with Level 4 to set criteria for success in the ROI, Return on Expectations.
  2. Value must be created before it can be demonstrated. They strongly advise not to let the metrics define value at the end of the project but to make sure it works along the way. Training alone does not get results and must be built with performance checks and drivers.

Their presentation contained specific “required drivers” to support the evaluation process.

The entire webinar is available on-demand at the Training Industry website (, and resources and materials from the webinar are available at this link.


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