6 Best Training Evaluation Models in 2024: Part 1

Evaluating Training Effectiveness: A Comprehensive Look with Top Models (Part 1)

Effective training is vital for organizational success. It equips employees with the knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs well, ultimately leading to increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and a stronger bottom line. But how do you know if your training programs are actually delivering these benefits?

This article provides an overview of six of the best training evaluation models in 2024. We'll explore their strengths, weaknesses, and how they can be applied to different training programs. By understanding these models, you can choose the right approach to evaluate your training initiatives and ensure they're making a positive impact.

In this first part, we'll delve into three models: the Kirkpatrick Model, the Phillips ROI Model, and the CIPP Model.

The Kirkpatrick Model

Developed in 1950 and named after its creator Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick, this model remains one of the most widely used frameworks. It suggests a four-level approach to assessing the effectiveness of training where each level builds on the previous one.

Level 1: Reaction

This level measures how participants react to the training. It involves gathering feedback on their perceptions, satisfaction, and engagement with the training program. Common evaluation methods at this level include surveys, feedback forms, and questionnaires.

Level 2: Learning

This level focuses on assessing what participants have learned. It measures the increase in knowledge, skills, and competencies achieved through the training. This can be evaluated through pre-and post-training assessments, quizzes, tests, and practical demonstrations.

Level 3: Behavior

This level evaluates if and how effectively participants apply what they have learned in their work environment. It measures changes in behavior and performance on the job. Evaluation methods include observations, interviews, and performance appraisals.

Level 4: Results

The final level assesses the impact of the training on organizational outcomes: improvements in productivity, quality, efficiency, and overall business results. It often involves analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs), business metrics, and return on investment (ROI).

Benefits and weaknesses

One of the strongest advantages of the Kirkpatrick model is its comprehensive approach. The model covers all aspects of training, from initial reactions to long-term results. Its structured and systematic approach helps identify areas for improvement and predict future training necessities.

On the other hand, evaluating training results according to all four levels is rather resource-intensive and time-consuming. Measuring behavioral changes and organizational impact can be complex and difficult to attribute solely to training. Besides, the reaction level may be rather subjective and may not always reflect the effectiveness of the training.

How it works

Let's see how the model works on the real-life case. For example, your sales team has just finished a training course. According to the Kirkpatrick model, to evaluate the training effect, you should begin by assessing the team's reaction by conducting post-training surveys. These surveys may include questions such as: "Did you find the sales techniques taught in the training useful?" "How would you rate the overall training experience?".

On the learning level, you can arrange role-playing exercises and sales simulations. These additional questions can help better assess the results:

  • Can you effectively demonstrate the sales techniques learned?

  • How well do you understand the new sales strategies?

On the next level, you should monitor sales calls and conduct performance reviews. Check if the sales representatives use the new technologies in their interactions. Try to understand if their approach has changed after the training.

Finally, analyze sales metrics and revenue data. Notice if there has been an increase in sales performance. Compare the sales teams' performance reports before and after training and check if they have met their targets more consistently since the training.

The Phillips ROI Model

In the 1970s, Dr. Jack Phillips extended the Kirkpatrick model by adding the fifth level. It focuses on Return on Investment (ROI): a detailed analysis of the financial impact of training programs. During the analysis, the expert compares the monetary benefits of the training to its costs, providing a clear picture of its economic value. Common assessment methods include cost-benefit analysis, financial metrics, and ROI calculations.

The formula to calculate ROI in the Phillips Model is:

ROI (%)=Net Program Benefits/Program Costs×100


Net Program Benefits are the total monetary benefits of the training minus the program costs.

Program Costs are direct and indirect costs associated with the training program.

Benefits and weaknesses

The Phillips ROI Model provides an even more comprehensive and detailed approach to training than its predecessor. Thanks to ROI analysis, it gives a clear financial justification for training programs and helps organizations make informed decisions about future training investments.

The complexity of the method is its core challenge. Calculating ROI can be complex and requires accurate data collection and analysis. The Phillips ROI Model is also more resource-intensive and time-consuming than the Kirkpatrick model due to the extra assessment level. Finally, the model may not be objective: isolating the impact of training on business results can be challenging, as multiple factors may influence outcomes.

How it works

Let's add the fifth level to the sales team case described above.

On the ROI level, you would estimate the financial return of the training. Calculate the total costs of the training program and the increase in sales revenue attributed to the training and use the formula above. For example:

On the ROI level, you would estimate the financial return of the training. Calculate the total costs of the training program and the increase in sales revenue attributed to the training and use the formula above. For example:

Total Benefits: $50,000 (increase in sales revenue)

Total Costs: $10,000 (training development, delivery, and participant time)

Net Benefits: $50,000 - $10,000 = $40,000

ROI (%): 40,000/10,000×400100=%

Evaluating Training Effectiveness: A Comprehensive Look with Top Models

The CIPP Model

The CIPP Model, developed by Daniel Stufflebeam in the 1960s, is a comprehensive framework for evaluating programs, projects, and systems. It is a robust and flexible framework that supports the thorough evaluation of programs across various contexts, helping organizations achieve their goals through informed decision-making and continuous improvement.

CIPP stands for Context, Input, Process, and Product. This model emphasizes continuous improvement and accountability by providing a systematic method for collecting and analyzing data throughout a program's lifecycle.


The purpose of analyzing context is to assess the needs, problems, and opportunities within the context in which the program operates. As a result, you can set clear objectives and determine the relevance of the program. Assessments, environmental scans, stakeholder interviews, and analysis of existing data are a few tools you can use in this step.


The next step is to evaluate the resources, strategies, and plans used to achieve the program's objectives. This phase focuses on the feasibility and appropriateness of the program design. Evaluation includes resource analysis, cost-benefit analysis, expert reviews, and benchmarking.


In this phase, the expert monitors and documents the program implementation, assessing the fidelity, quality, and efficiency of the processes used. The best way to do it is through observations, process logs, progress reports, and formative evaluations.


The last phase measures the outcomes and impacts of the program, including assessing the short-term, intermediate, and long-term results. Common evaluation methods include outcome evaluations, impact assessments, performance data analysis, and summative evaluations.

Benefits and weaknesses

Unlike the previous two models, the CIPP model covers all aspects of a training program, from planning to the outcome. It encourages ongoing assessment and refinement of the program. The assessment results provide data-driven insights to inform decision-making and strategic planning.

However, this approach presents a few challenges, such as complexity, time and resource intensity, and data collection. This evaluation model is rather hard to implement in large-scale programs and requires substantial resources and time to conduct comprehensive assessments. Besides, gathering reliable and valid data for all four components can be challenging.

How it works

For example, you are evaluating a new educational program. On the context level, you can conduct a needs assessment survey among students, teachers, and parents before working out the program. Ask them about the students' primary educational needs and what external factors influence them.

When you have this information, you can move to researching the input. Analyze the budget, staffing, and educational materials needed to create and implement the new program. Ensure that allocated resources are sufficient to meet the program's goals and that instructional materials are aligned with academic standards.

In the process of implementing the program, observe classroom activities and review teacher lesson plans. Check if teachers implement the curriculum as designed and point out challenges teachers face during implementation.

Finally, to evaluate the results of implementing the program, analyze student performance data and conduct surveys to assess satisfaction.


This first part has equipped you with a solid understanding of three prominent training evaluation models: The Kirkpatrick Model, The Phillips ROI Model, and The CIPP Model. Each offers valuable insights but caters to different needs.

In part two, we'll delve into three more powerful models: The DACUM Model, The Dreyfus Model, and The Brinkerhoff Model. These models offer unique perspectives on evaluating training effectiveness, from understanding skill development to identifying success factors. By exploring all six models, you'll be well-positioned to choose the right approach to assess your training programs and ensure they're delivering the results you desire.

So, don't miss out! Head over to part two to unlock the full potential of training evaluation and elevate your organization's learning and development initiatives.

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