Measuring training satisfaction and Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction

Table of Contents

Training has long worried about justifying its existence. How do we measure training success? What are the critical outcomes of training? How do we know if the training is any good and if it is making any impact? Let’s begin with Kirkpatrick Level 1 analysis on initial reaction to training.

Most learning and development professionals will be familiar with The Kirkpatrick Model of evaluating the effectiveness of training. It’s a great model and serves as inspiration for the built-in reporting in the Tribal Habits platform. The model suggests four levels of training measurement.

  1. Reaction: The degree to which participants find the training favourable, engaging and relevant to their jobs.
  2. Learning: The degree to which participants acquire the intended knowledge, skills, attitude, confidence and commitment based on their participation in the training.
  3. Behaviour: The degree to which participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job.
  4. Results: The degree to which targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training and the support and accountability package.

Over a series of four articles, let’s examine The Kirkpatrick Model and how Tribal Habits can help any organisation with reporting on all four levels – automatically! We’ll see how organisations can select the appropriate level of reporting and utilise the information at each level to improve its training topics.

In this article, let’s focus on Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction. This is the base level of training evaluation. Many training professionals may scoff at Level 1 analysis, referring to training feedback forms as ‘happy sheets’ – were my participants happy? Certainly, if that’s the only evaluation you are conducting, then perhaps that’s a little simple. But it shouldn’t be overlooked either. There’s nothing wrong with happy participants.

So evaluating issues of the length of the training event, the speed of training, quality of the facilitator and quality of materials is still important. It’s a hygiene issue – training should make people upset! If we can get a good reaction – a good Level 1 test – then its unlikely we will obtain results in the more important Level 2 and Level 3 evaluations.

To help you with this, below are four of the standard polls available in Tribal Habits which focus on participant (‘explorers’ in Tribal Habits) reaction to training and topics. I have provided exact examples of our polls so you can copy and re-use as needed.

Measuring Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction: Experience

In each Tribal Habits topic, explorers can be asked about their prior level of experience with the topic. First, this gives the organisation a sense as to how the topic compares to the existing skill set of its staff. The poll also provides feedback to managers to compare an explorer’s self-analysis of their level of experience with their manager’s on-the-job observations. Finally, it provides a means of filtering responses and feedback between experienced and novice explorers.

Measuring Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction: Freshness

Explorers can also be polled on the prior training they have received on the topic. Again this helps track whether the training is targeting new areas of knowledge, as well as if explorers feel they are gaining access to something new (or more of the same). Combined with the experience poll, an organisation can quickly see how explorers are initially reacting to the learning opportunities in any topic.

Measuring Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction: Quality

The third standardised poll in every Tribal Habits topic is the classic ‘quality’ question. Perhaps this poll is the most obvious one associated with a Kirkpatrick Level 1 analysis. Optionally, you can also enable a free text response with feedback for further improvements in the topic.

Measuring Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction: Satisfaction

The fourth and final standard poll you can enable in your Tribal Habits topics is around satisfaction. In Tribal Habits, we establish this poll around the concept of ‘finding the knowledge you wanted’. First, this poll helps topic creators and admins determine if the topic overview is accurately describing the topic contents – perhaps explorers were expecting to find something different based on the topic description? It also suggests if the topic content is ‘enough’.

Good Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction reporting allows for early intervention

The combination of experience, freshness, quality and value provide organisations with a tremendous level of detail of the Kirkpatrick Level 1 Reaction outcomes in any training topic. These leading measurements allow early intervention in topics to make improvements or refocus content. They also provide more specific guidance in those situations, beyond a simple ‘score’ of the topic.

Consider scenarios where…

  • Inexperienced explorers are finding the topic valuable, but experienced explorers are not. Perhaps the topic description needs to more accurately define the correct roles and experience levels for the topic?
  • Explorers feel they have completed recent similar training and are also not finding the knowledge they were seeking. Perhaps the content is simply too repetitive of existing training and not offering an something new?
  • Explorers generally feel experienced with the topic and indicated that topic quality is merely ‘OK’. Perhaps the topic is too simple – it isn’t offering advanced information or challenging explorers?

In typical Tribal Habits style, these options are all a simple checkbox in your topics. Tribal Habits then creates the polls in your topics and branding, manages the explorer navigation and captures the data. The team at Tribal Habits can also review your topic results to provide advice on improving your topics too. In this way, Tribal Habits helps any organisation capture amazing topic and explorer data, even if you don’t know anything about training evaluation!

Whether you use Tribal Habits for your topic creation, or other training delivery methods, take a moment to review these polls and see how you might improve your Kirkpatrick Level 1 reviews to boost the initial quality of your training.

And remember – we can take care of all of this automatically for you. Tribal Habits can standardise training evaluation across your firm, plus automate a whole lot of other knowledge sharing, staff training and client education functions. All for just a few dollars per employee per month.


Shopping cart


No products in the cart.

Continue Shopping