Training is one of the critical investments in most, if not all, organizations. According to Sheeba and Christopher (2020), training and development are essential in improving the performance of employees, which in the end, increases the organization’s productivity. Companies end up spending a significant amount of money during these training processes. In that case, some of them may consider training costly. It is, however, worth noting that training is aimed at promoting the efficiency of the organization. Consequently, training and development are more of an investment rather than an incurred cost. Therefore, this calls for every company to adopt various training models that ensure the entire training period is successful and effective. The Kirkpatrick, Phillips ROI, and the Brinkerhoff have proved essential training evaluation models in many organizations.

The Kirkpatrick is not only the oldest but the most popularly used training evaluation model. Don Kirkpatrick introduced this model in 1959 to help organizations evaluate the significance of any course or training programs (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2016). Due to its growing popularity, Kirkpatrick’s model became widespread, and most companies started using it between the 1970s and 1980s. This prompted him to make improvements to his model. Consequently, Kirkpatrick introduced levels in this training evaluation model; reaction, learning, behavior and results. Each level is significant in the evaluation process of any training program.

The reaction level measures the response of employees towards the training session. In that case, this level determines whether the entire training program created an aspect of learning for the trainees. The second level is directly dependent on Kirkpatrick’s first level. The learning level incorporates short practical tests and quizzes to determine what the employees learned from the program (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2016). Various assessment tools are used to determine whether the employees are applying what they learned from the training at the behavior level. It is important to note that this assessment cannot be done immediately after the training as it takes a while for employees to adopt the new practices learned from the training. In the final level, the Return on Expectation (ROE) measures the significance of training in terms of its efficiency. Generally, Kirkpatrick’s model provided a foundation for other training evaluation models.

The Phillips ROI model is often considered an advancement of Kirkpatrick’s model (Choudhury & Sharma, 2019). Phillips believed that Kirkpatrick’s model had various shortcomings. Consequently, his model aimed at addressing these limitations, which led to the development of the Phillips ROI model. Phillips incorporated an additional level to the four levels in the previous training model in his model (Choudhury & Sharma, 2019). With the five levels in the Phillips ROI model, organizations would not only determine but calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) of their training program. However, although Phillips added an extra level to his model, he still maintained a similar sequence to Kirkpatrick’s model.

The functions and significance of the first two levels of Phillips’ model are similar to those of the previous model. However, the third level marked the beginning of improvements made on Kirkpatrick’s model. Although the application and implementation level aimed to determine whether the employees applied what they learned (just like in Kirkpatrick’s model), it also determines whether a problem arose from applying the training or upon its implementation. However, this level is significant only if an issue developed as a result of the training. The impact level, which is Phillips’ fourth level, determines whether other factors apart from the training process contributed to the outcomes. The final level in this model differs from Kirkpatrick’s model. It measures the training program’s value using the cost-benefit analysis, unlike the former model, which based the outcomes on ROE.

Although it was mentioned earlier that Kirkpatrick’s model was the basis of other training evaluation processes, Brinkerhoff developed a completely new model in the early 2000s known as the Success Case Method (SCM). Brinkerhoff developed this model to examine the effectiveness of a training program. Additionally, in case the program fails to work, this model determines the reasons behind its failures. One would, therefore, expect this model to differ from other training evaluation methods.

First, this model was not developed only to evaluate a training process. SCM can be used in other areas of an organization. For example, the model can be incorporated in cases where the company has invested in a new type of machinery. Secondly, other models base their outcomes on the average performance of the employees. However, SCM focuses on both extremes of the outcome: the employees who benefited most from the training program and the least beneficiaries of the same (Lee et al., 2017). Generally, this model has been considered a cost-effective and straightforward training evaluation model to adopt in any organization.

In an effective organization, a corporate director would need to generate adequate and data for Talent Development Reporting (TDR). Consequently, they may be required to choose the most appropriate training evaluation model. The Phillips ROI model would be the best method to use from the three discussed methods as it offers a broader platform of data collection tools. Although this may not have been mentioned earlier, the Phillips model uses quantitative analysis methods specific to every case, hence proving its efficiency.

From the discussion above, training is an essential investment in any organization. In that case, training evaluation is even more critical. Consequently, it is a requirement that companies incorporate training evaluation models such as Kirkpatrick and SCM depending on the respective training programs. For instance, Phillips ROI would be the most effective method in TDR.


Choudhury, G. B., & Sharma, V. (2019). Review and comparison of various training effectiveness evaluation models for R & D Organization performance. PM World Journal8(2), 1-13.

Kirkpatrick, J. D., & Kirkpatrick, W. K. (2016). Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training evaluation. Association for Talent Development.

Lee, C., Jeon, D., Kim, W., & Lee, J. (2017). Evaluating training for new government officials: A case study using the success case method. Public Personnel Management46(4), 419-444.

Sheeba, M. J., & Christopher, P. B. (2020). Exploring the role of training and development in creating innovative work behaviors and accomplishing non-routine cognitive jobs for organizational effectiveness. Journal of critical reviews7(04), 263-267.

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