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Henry Black

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An alternative to Kirkpatrick?


I've been asked by my company to review alternatives to the Kirkpatrick evaluation model. We've been using it for a number of years now and the general consenus seems to be that we should change how we evaluate training. I'm not convinced myself as I see this model as providing most of what we need - but I've agreed to review alternatives. Does anyone know of an evaluation model that can compete with Kirkpatrick? I appreciate that this question is much more comlicated than it may first appear as there are so mnany variables to consider, but I'm open to any advice.

thanks in advance for anyone who kindly responds.

7 Responses

  1. Paul Kearns …

    In his book "Evaluating the ROI from learning" he explains his ‘value-based’ model. What might appeal to you is that it is compared to / develops Kirkpatrick and is different – so could suite both your needs!

    If you are wanting to go as far as ROI I can also send you a comparison of a number of models if you want to contact me at my email address.



  2. Success Case Method…

    Hi Henry

    Whilst I hate to see anyone change something just because it has been used for a number of years (it just sounds too much like chasing the next big thing, or trying to be cutting edge, I did follow Joy’s recommendation and look at the Success Case Method.  I really like it especially since it recognises that training isn’t a standalone Magic Bullet.

    Thanks Joy!


  3. Kurt Kraiger

    I suggest you explore the work of Kurt Kraiger who has a much more business-focussed & relevant approach to evaluation than the Kirkpatricj syuff.

  4. Alternatives to Kirkpatrick

    Hi Henry

    We developed and have been using an impact and evaluation process since 2005 that is called The Performance Improvement Cycle and you can get a white paper on it from our website in the information and downloads area. Also we have written about it in our book ‘From the Happy sheet to the Bottom Line’ that explains how it works via 8 leadership and coaching case studies. The process certainly works for our clients and Paul Kearns and Jack Phillips have both spoken positively about the process and the book. Hope this helps.

    Regards and happy researching 


  5. Thanks for the responses

    Thank you all for responding.


    To Joy and Paul particulalry, I will be pursuing your recommendations.


    Thanks again.

  6. Evaluation models


    Kirkpatrick’s model has strengths and weaknesses like most others. It has stood the test of time because of its straightforward logic but maybe other approaches are better at picking up issues like learning transfer, return on expectations, assessing quality, social impact and the like.

    There are plenty of options to choose from both new and old that you might want to check out: CIRO (Kaufman), CIPP (Stufflebeam), IPO (Bushnell), TOTEM, PERT, ‘Theory of Change’, Scriven’s Goal Free, Eisner’s connoisseurship, Hamblin, Rae, Phillips, Newby, Kearns (& Miller), CIPD….and more.

    The business orientation in me favours Kearns, the pragmatist in me likes the success case method, my systems thinking head is attracted to the ‘Theory of Change’ approach, but ultimately I have my own take on it (see Hope you find something that resonates with your context and business needs as well as your personal preferences.

    Hope that helps

    Graham O’Connell

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Henry Black

CViT Instructor

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