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Training isn’t training if it doesn’t change behavior.

If you deliver training for your team or your organization, then you probably know how important it is to measure its effectiveness. After all, you don't want to spend time or money on training that doesn't provide a good return. Alert's Four-Level Training Evaluation Model can help you objectively analyze the effectiveness and impact of your training, so that you can improve it in the future. In this article, we'll look at each of the four levels, and we'll examine how you can apply the model to evaluate training. We'll also look at some of the situations where the model may not be useful.

The Four Levels

1. Reaction.
2. Learning.
3. Behavior.
4. Results.

Let's look at each level in greater detail.

    This level measures how your trainees (the people being trained), reacted to the training. Obviously, you want them to feel that the training was a valuable experience, and you want them to feel good about the instructor, the topic, the material, its presentation, and the venue.

    It's important to measure reaction; because it helps you understand how well the training was received by your audience. It also helps you improve the training for future trainees, including identifying important areas or topics that are missing from the training.

    At level 2, you measure what your trainees have learned. How much has their knowledge increased as a result of the training?

    When you planned the training session, you hopefully started with a list of specific learning objectives: these should be the starting point for your measurement. Keep in mind that you can measure learning in different ways depending on these objectives, and depending on whether you're interested in changes to knowledge, skills, or attitude. It's important to measure this, because knowing what your trainees are learning and what they aren't will help you improve future training.

    At this level, you evaluate how far your trainees have changed their behavior, based on the training they received. Specifically, this looks at how trainees apply the information.

    It's important to realize that behavior can only change if conditions are favorable. For instance, imagine you've skipped measurement at the first two Kirkpatrick levels and, when looking at your group's behavior, you determine that no behavior change has taken place. Therefore, you assume that your trainees haven't learned anything and that the training was ineffective.

    However, just because behavior hasn't changed, it doesn't mean that trainees haven't learned anything. Perhaps their boss won't let them apply new knowledge. Or, maybe they've learned everything you taught, but they have no desire to apply the knowledge themselves.

    At this level, you analyze the final results of your training. This includes outcomes that you or your organization have determined to be good for business, good for the employees, or good for the bottom line.

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