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Ditch Kirkpatrick to Measure Value

Updated: May 30, 2021

Kirkpatrick is the go-to framework for evaluating training and learning, but are you missing value by using it? More importantly, what could be better than Kirkpatrick when it comes to linking coaching, mentoring, training, learning and Knowledge Management initiatives to change or transformation impact and results?

Take a look at how FAIRR reporting outperforms Kirkpatrick and start reporting more meaningful impact and results today!

Are you missing value by using Kirkpatrick's framework for evaluating learning?

Are you missing value by using Kirkpatrick's framework for evaluating learning? I ask because Kirkpatrick's framework for evaluating training and learning has been the go-to resource for training and evaluation providers the world over. The Kirkpatrick framework provides a good starting point, but it lacks completeness - for example, in his book 'Evaluating the ROI from learning', Kearns expanded the framework to focus on ROI. However, even in bringing a focus to ROI, significant opportunities to improve the framework still exist.

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Kirkpatrick's framework for evaluating training and learning

Level 1: Reaction The degree to which participants find the training favorable, engaging and relevant to their jobs

Level 2: Learning The degree to which participants acquire the intended knowledge, skills, attitude, confidence and commitment based on their participation in the training

Level 3: Behavior The degree to which participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job

Level 4: Results The degree to which targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training and the support and accountability package (Kirkpatrick Partners)

What could be better than Kirkpatrick's framework?

In one of my first consulting engagements, the CEO asked me to create a reporting framework that provided a direct line of sight between any knowledge or learning event and value creation. The L&D function had been using Kirkpatrick's framework to audit training events, but they rarely managed to move beyond Level 1. The following is my FAIRR framework, which underpins all of my work within K3-Cubed and The Good Life Work project. I have used the framework to audit and benchmark over 125 coaching, mentoring, training, learning, Knowledge Management and Change management initiatives in 17 countries. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped my clients.

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The FAIRR Framework for evaluating coaching, training, learning Knowledge Management and change initiatives

Level 1 | ROI from any initiative can only be known when you know results.


Level 2 | Positive results are known when you have the evidence for positive actions. By creating an Impact Reporting Dashboard, you can track STIQCE data. For example, a positive action creates a positive impact; an intervention might save time, which is then quantifiable and links to cost and improves customer satisfaction scores, which links to client or employee retention and, therefore, cost.


Level 3 | Positive impact comes from positive actions. Impact means that there has been a demonstrable positive change to people (behaviours), processes or systems. We can only assess the effect of a given intervention if the start state is known and any change is monitored for momentum (speed and acceleration of positive or negative change). Indicators for impact can be made visible by tracking STIQCE data; data associated with Safety, Time, Innovation, Quality, Cost and Experience (customer or employee - e.g. quality of customer care data).


Level 4 | Positive access and action, which first requires positive feelings. Access to training, mentoring, coaching, knowledge or change initiatives relates to evidence for the access to an initiative and evidence for subsequent actions. Access and completion logs do not provide evidence for action, which relates to the depth, security and completeness of learning. Actions from any intervention or initiative relate to the application of knowledge or learning, where said actions can be positive or negative. Therefore, you must develop FAST (Frequent, Ambitious, Specific and Transparent) to monitor actions as an output of an intervention or initiative as an indicator of change and an initial indicator of the depth, security and completeness of learning.


Level 5 | Positive feelings, the reflex response to an intervention or initiative determine the success (positive impact and results) of that intervention or initiative, including the depth, security and completeness of learning. Negative feelings toward any intervention reduce motivation and the likelihood of access to and actioning from learning, linking to an individual's engagement and involvement in the experience. The reflex response relates not only to the initial feelings toward the initiative or intervention but the experience brought about by engagement or participation in the initiative or intervention. Quite simply, negative feelings here amplify through to Level 1, where, logically, negative feelings towards the initiative or intervention will naturally lower ROI.

Read: I don't have time! Now, what do you do? (self-determination theory)

Read: Struggling with motivation? Think CAR!

Case example | FAIRR as part of Juran's KM Benchmarking initiative

The Top 2 Reasons Why KM Fails
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FAIRR in Change Management

FAIRR in Knowledge and Change Management

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