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Kirkpatrick Model

Donald Kirkpatrick’s four-level Measurement Model has been widely published in many articles and its terminology is well-known to most training professionals. The original model was published in Training and Development Handbook, R. L. Craig, McGraw-Hill, 1976.


The Kirkpatrick measurement model was developed to help in measuring instructor-led training. The four levels of this model are:

  • Learner satisfaction or Level 1 (how well did the course attendee like the course, instructor, materials, etc? This is usually measured through an end-of-course questionnaire or online survey.) 
  • Learning outcome or Level 2 (how well did the course attendee actually learn? How well did they gain the desired learning objectives? This is usually measured through a test or other form of evaluation.) 
  • Job Impact or Level 3 (how well did the course help the learner improve their on-the-job performance? The Kirkpatrick model does not describe just how one would measure this, but the idea is to look at job-specific problems which are addressed by the training. Here organizations look at job-level issues like sales revenue attainment, customer service, product quality.) 
  • Organizational Impact or Level 4 (how well did the course impact the performance of the business or organization. Again Kirkpatrick does not specifically talk about how to measure this, but there are many ways to accomplish this. Organizational level impacts include lowered turnover, productivity, and engagement.)


The Kirkpatrick model is a first-generation "thought model" for the measurement of training. While it is widely understood, training managers typically want more detailed tools and solutions. Josh Bersin's The Training Measurement Book describes the Bersin Impact Measurement Model and gives in-depth details on how to measure training.