The Kirkpatrick Model: Level 3

For many administrators and managers “in the trenches,” the notion of appreciating post-training behavior is a novel concept. They are consumed with responsibilities and tasks in the workplace; some may even believe that extra work was created by the detour from work to attend the training.


This level is fairly straight forward, but a key link in the original Kirkpatrick Model. Again, to state the obvious, trainings have extremely limited value if their intended purposes are not some how realized in the workplace. The Kirkpatrick model utilizes a single element for the third level and adds an additional one for the NWKM: Required Drivers (

A. Behavior

  1. Behavior is defined by “the degree to which participants apply what they have learned during the training when they are back at the job.”

B. Required Drivers

  1. Similarly, required drivers are “processes and systems that reinforce, encourage, and reward performance of critical behaviors on the job.”

The web site confirms that determining the level of staff application of key principles, mindsets, and skill sets is quite challenging at the onset. They argue that assessment of Level 3 Behavior should take place between three to six months after the training. Much of this assessment includes informal observations; however, discerning whether or not the training has truly taken root is determined through staff counseling and interviews. Using “tests” can be problematic, for as discussed, the ability to “know” information is very different from being able to “apply” training information in real-life job situations.

The Required Drivers as the second element of Level 3 is truly significant. Without administrative processes and systems affirming the training, many employees—perhaps most—will simply forget about the training and leave the materials under an ever-increasing pile of training materials never to be looked at again. So what does it mean to implement Required Drivers?

Required Drivers necessitate administrators and managers to become actively involved in the process of implementing the training in the workplace. The NWKM identifies three ways this can be accomplished: reinforcement, encouragement, and rewards.  Functionally speaking, what does this mean in the workplace?

Reinforcing training material requires administrators and managers to serve as a “coach.” Playing the role of the coach is essential; here instead of being a judge, coaches provide reminders and refreshers of training material in situations.

Encouragement requires management to be sympathetic to their employees. Such encouragement is founded on the management insight that knowledge levels and positive dispositions are not the only factor when organizations seek to implement new practices and work models. In short, employees may attempt doff off old practices in exchange for new ones, but old habits can be hard to break. Equally, the skill of recognizing when to apply the training is frequently accomplished through trial and error until a given employee can develop a sufficient level of skill.

Rewards make things easier for employees. While having an affirming manager/coach is essential, rewards offer the external incentives that can further motivate staff during periods when the training model has not been fully implemented.

In our wrap up of the Kirkpatrick Model, we’ll look at Level 4: Results. With this level, we’ll include a discussion of the Kirkpatrick Principles, which govern and provide direction for the different links in the model.

Craig Lee Keller, Ph.D., JAG Learning Strategist

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