Business and IT training courses from QA

Measuring ROI - Kirkpatrick model

It's important for organisations to understand not only whether training has delivered the expected business benefits, but whether the ratio between investment in training and the resulting return on investment is an acceptable one.

Ensure that every pound invested earns a good return


QA uses the proven Kirkpatrick model to help assess the return on investment from training, by mapping all aspects of its learning services to the levels of the Kirkpatrick model. QA can provide evaluation up to whichever Kirkpatrick level you require, ranging from immediate feedback, through measuring retained knowledge and subsequent application of skills, to evaluating business benefit.

Benefits of the service:

  • Visibility of return on investment for spending on training
  • Alignment of the learning service or training programme to maximise return on investment
  • Reduced total cost of service
  • Focus on realisation of business benefits from learning and development

Kirkpatrick model


Quality of learning experience (Kirkpatrick Level 1)

All of QA's courses are quality-controlled at this level by means of a standardised, web-based evaluation form. Answers on the evaluation form can be analysed to deliver performance statistics. Statistics can be produced for each training event, each type of course and each instructor. Analysing these statistics enables us to assess the effectiveness of training at Kirkpatrick Level 1.

Learning outcome (Kirkpatrick Level 2)

This level focuses on how well learning is retained. Course delegates take a post-course test or assessment to measure their knowledge/skills against the learning objectives of the course. To gain the most value from this measure, it's important to agree in advance that the course objectives meet the learning requirement and that the proposed delegate(s) meet the stated prerequisites.

Performance improvement (Kirkpatrick Level 3)

This is the first real business measure of return on investment. Although learning evaluation is used traditionally to assess individuals, return on investment is much more usefully measured for a team or business function. What constitutes 'performance improvement' varies from organisation to organisation, so QA provides a learning and development consultant to work with clients to both identify and benchmark these parameters, and to agree a method for measuring change after learning. Typically, a survey-style questionnaire is used to gather the data for measurement.

Organisational benefit (Kirkpatrick Level 4)

This longer-term evaluation judges the success of training at an organisational level, in relation to business benefits. This should usually mean that the investment in learning has raised the capability or performance of the team or department in some measurable way. Typically, organisational results would be monitored six months after training, or year-on-year, to enable sufficient data to become available for measurement to be meaningful.

This measure of service improvement is therefore very much the remit of the relevant manager. QA is able to provide objective skills management consultancy to identify suitable metrics, however QA is not usually in a position to contribute directly to the actual measurement.



Learning evaluation may be conducted at any or all of the levels described above, but one-stop evaluation (via 'happy sheets') means that potential lessons and valuable measurement are often lost. Well-planned evaluation serves to validate the intuitive judgement of L&D professionals and line managers and to justify future investment in skills development.

To learn more about how QA can help you identify the return on your investment in training, contact Andy Thomson.

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