Recently, I attended a Congress of Human Resources. On stage, the speaker appeared charismatic, professional, and he gave quite an entertaining presentation. He held the audience's attention by constantly making jokes and adding interesting personal anecdotes.
I sat through the entire speech waiting for the speaker to reach a climax, make a solid point or establish a noteworthy conclusion. In the end, I was left unsatiated, with the feeling that while the attendees had all had a good time, no real learning had actually taken place.
This same situation occurs during trainings for countless companies. In-person trainings involve a fun and enjoyable classroom environment, but often lack applicable content. Similarly, online trainings are all too often attractive eLearning courses with impressive graphics and animations that still fail to teach meaningful information.
We must remember that the ultimate goal of a training course is to learn. But how do we know that we have fulfilled this goal after delivering it? Here, it is important to mention one key element: evaluation.
There are many different approaches to evaluating the effectiveness of an eLearning course, but they all share a common first step: identifying success metrics. Kirkpatrick's taxonomy is one seasoned model that continues to receive widespread use. Developed by Dr. Don Kirkpatrick in the 1950s, the model originally contained four levels of training evaluation. Now, the levels have been clarified by Don, Jim, and Wendy Kirkpatrick to form what is called "The New World Kirkpatrick Model". Since the concept has continued to evolve alongside training, it remains a relevant and robust evaluation framework.
This evaluation model is applicable to both classroom training and eLearning.