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Two minute interview: Jim Kirkpatrick


With TZ Live only a week away, Matt Henkes gets the latest from Jim Kirkpatrick and finds out what delegates can expect from his exclusive new workshop.

When TrainingZone Live managed to secure the Kirkpatrick's latest workshop as part of the event, we were thrilled. Following hot on the heels of Donald Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Evaluation, his son Jim and daughter Wendy have gone on to create a brand new approach to the model. Here Jim tells us more about his love for training and how the industry needs to prepare itself for some challenges ahead.

However, the first thing we want to know is, with such a famous pedigree, was Jim always destined for a career in the training industry? "One of the main reasons I wanted to be part of the training industry is that I admire the work my father Don Kirkpatrick started in the 1950s, and believe much more can be done with his principles to further the cause of training and development," he says. "I also believe there is a great desire on the part of most training and learning professionals to make a greater impact in their organisations, and I want to help where I can. What's more, I like working with training people!"

So it seems to have been a natural progression for Jim to take on his father's famous work accompanied by his sister Wendy so, then, why did they decide to create this new offering and bring it to the UK when Don's Four Levels have been working so well for so many for so long? "I understand that the UK is interested in hearing about the proper way of applying the Kirkpatrick Four Level Model, and I want to do what I can to pass along the most current applications," explains Jim. "Also, published our Kirkpatrick Four Levels white paper months ago, and we trust them as a respected organisation."
Are there any particular themes that will be covered during the workshop? "Well the overarching theme is that training in on trial around the world, because the training industry still maintains the belief that the design, development, and delivery of training programs is sufficient to maintain relevancy in the world of work. It is not," he reflects. "Rather training needs to expand its definition from effective training to training effectiveness. The Kirkpatrick Four Levels of Evaluation model is a sound way to show how to make that transition."
Jim will be detailing what he refers to as the Five Foundational Principles which include beginning with results when determining training, Return on Expectations as the ultimate indicator of stakeholder success, the business partnership model, creating business value, and demonstrating that value.  Finally, the most current rendition of the Kirkpatrick Model will be explained.

Are there any insights he hopes delegates will walk away from his workshop with? "I hope they make a decision to expand their view of training from delivering training programs to delivering value. Of course, in order to do so, they will need the necessary knowledge, skills, and motivation to do so," he enthuses. "I also hope they walk away with a specific plan to make the Kirkpatrick Model come to life beyond Levels 1 and 2. Levels 3 and 4 are the levels that must be focused on in order to maximise ROE for key stakeholders."

From his interactions with people in the industry, what would he say are the main challenges currently facing training professionals? "Mainly that they believe that such indices as activity, praise from participants, and complexity are synonymous with value," he says. "Perhaps they used to be, but not any longer."
Another great challenge Jim sees his peers facing applies to learning professionals who want to deliver bottom line value to their organisations but have not figured out how to get the opportunity to apply a business partnership approach because of lack of executive sponsorship. "There is the challenge of getting training graduates to actually apply what they learn in training. And the degree to which participants apply their learnings is directly related to targeted business success," he adds.

Finally, in all his dealings with trainers over the years, what has been the most important professional lesson he's ever learnt? "It is to select a few key principles, and have them be what we call our 'flags in the ground.' Rather than try to be all things to all people, and feel the need to please everybody, we have selected those principles and methods that we believe will do the most good for the most people." Sounds like a worthy development to us!
Jim Kirkpatrick will be presenting his new workshop: 'The New World Kirkpatrick Four Levels' on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May at TrainingZone Live.

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