Kirkpatrick Model Level 4

Getting to Level Four with the Kirkpatrick Model

Corporate training is stopping short with the Kirkpatrick Model. Why not take it all the way?

The model:

  • Level 1: Reaction
  • Level 2: Learning
  • Level 3: Behaviors
  • Level 4: Results


Results are the point. Reverse engineering from Level 4 is the only way to make full use of the model. But if a Result is identified as “Employees consider X Y or Z when dealing with situations A B or C” this is actually a Curriculum Learning Objective, not a Result. An organization only cares about measurable, downstream Results for their business.

There’s a long game and short game approach to bringing Level 4 and 5 into reality and out of fantasy.

  • Short game: learning leaders can be rigorous in posing clarifying questions on business impacts when trainings are requested (keeping in mind that the business leader may not have thought it through).
  • Long game: learning leaders are developed in the leadership conversation; just as business leaders are developed to ask for incremental learning, ongoing, that is mapped one-to-one with KPIs.  


To leverage the Kirkpatrick Model in a business environment, we must point every piece of every training to a measurable Result for the business, and ensure that Curriculum Learning Objectives align with the top-level business objectives.

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