Jim Kirkpatrick, son of Don (creator of Kirkpatricks 4-levels of Evaluation), is calling for “a radical change in the way we construct Level 1 reaction sheets”.
Outlining his proposals in PDF document entitled “The New World Level 1 Reaction Sheets” Jim challenges the current use of learner reaction forms. On a personal note, it is interesting how trainers refer to them as “evaluation forms” or “happy sheets” – this reinforces the points that Jim makes.
If you design or use learner reaction sheets at the end of a workshop, download the pdf, but if you’re busy, here’s a quick summary:
Don Kirkpatrick defines Level 1 (L1) as:
“The participants’ reactions to a training event. It is basically a measure of (internal) customer satisfaction.”
Often our “evals” are trainer focused not learner focused. Jim says:
What we do is to ask participants – our customers – their thoughts about us and our methods, our buildings, and our coffee. Instead, we should be asking them about them – and how they are experiencing the training event in relation to their needs.
He produces a table to contrast typical trainer focused statements with more learner focused alternatives. For example:
“The course content was relevant to my needs.”
“I will be able to immediately apply what I learned.”
“The facilitator did a good job of generating participant interaction.”
“It was easy for me to get actively involved during the session.”
After challenging the ‘trainer focus’ of our evaluation forms, Jim moves on to the bigger picture and questions the ultimate purpose of training. He shares a story about two workmen who are asked:
“What is your job?”
- One replies: “I am a window washer”
- The other replies: “I am helping to make for a memorable experience for my hotel’s guest!”
Jim’s conclusion is:
We either forget or never figured out that our job should be to instill in the learner that they are choosing to come our training to learn new knowledge and skills in order to perform their jobs (Level 3) more effectively, in order to make a contribution not only to the business, but also to their own futures (Level 4).
So, here’s a question – how do you capture learner reactions following your training? I know many of you have experimented with various ways to do this, let us know what has worked!
You can learn more about Kirkpatricks 4-levels of evaluation on the
Encyclopedia of Educational Technology website Kirkpatrick Partners website.
Read the PDF file “The New World Level 1 Reaction Sheets”
faces on whiteboard image by billso