Many discussions about HRD evaluation are organized around Kirkpatrick’s four levels of criteria. However, Kirkpatrick’s approach has also been the target of considerable criticism and modification. Some authors point out that the framework evaluates only what happens after training, as opposed to the entire training process.25 A second criticism is that Kirkpatrick’s framework would be better described as a taxonomy of outcomes, rather than a true model of training outcomes. Kraiger, Ford, and Salas argue that Kirkpatrick’s approach fails to specify what sorts of changes can be expected as a result of learning and what assessment techniques should be used to measure learning at each level. Alliger and Janak question the validity of the assumptions implied by the frame- work (e.g., achieving the outcomes stated in higher levels of the model assumes achievement of outcomes at the lower levels). They suggest that it “may never have been meant to be more than a first, global heuristic for train- ing evaluation”. Kirkpatrick responded to this criticism by stating: “I personally have never called my framework ‘a model’” , and “I don’t care whether my work is called a model or a taxonomy as long as it helps to clarify the meaning of evaluation in simple terms and offers guidelines and sug- gestions on how to accomplish an evaluation”. Giangreco and colleagues argue that the Kirkpatrick model is not well suited to the fast pace of modern economy.
Training researchers have expanded Kirkpatrick’s ideas to encourage practi- tioners to do a more thorough job of evaluation. Several authors suggest modi- fications to Kirkpatrick’s four-level approach that keep the framework essentially intact. These include:
• Expanding the reaction level to include assessing the participants’ reaction to the training methods and efficiency31
• Distinguishing more clearly between cognitive and affective reactions to training
• Splitting the reaction level to include assessing participants’ perceptions of enjoyment, usefulness (utility), and the difficulty of the program
• Adding a fifth level (beyond results) to specifically address the organization’s return on investment (ROI)
• Adding a fifth level (beyond results) to address the societal contributions and outcomes created by an HRD program
• Adding a focus on “return on expectations” (ROE), i.e., focusing more on what managers and executives want and expect from the HRD intervention, rather than on ROI.
Galvin, building on studies in the education field, suggests the CIPP (Context, Input, Process, Product) model. In this model, evaluation focuses on measuring the context for training (needs analysis); inputs to training (examining the resources available for training, such as budgets and schedules); the process of conducting the training program (for feedback to the implementers); and the product or outcome of training (success in meeting program objectives). Galvin reports survey results indicating that ASTD members prefer the CIPP model of evaluation to Kirkpatrick’s framework. Warr et al. proposed a similar model.
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