Kirkpatrick’s Levels For Millennials

If you create any kind of learning, I’m sure you measure whether or not people actually really learn from what you do.  (I also believe in the Easter Bunny, Deficit Reduction, and that Futurama will be renewed this fall.)

don-kirkpatrick-11As part of your measurement of success, you very probably use Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels Of Learning Evaluation — the gold standard in my discipline as to whether your little skulls full of mush managed to latch on to whatever you were pouring in.

(For the one or two of you who don’t do this, or haven’t familiarized yourself with Kirkpatrick, here’s a quick review:)

Level 1: Reaction of student – what they thought and felt about the training

Level 2:  Learning – the resulting increase in knowledge or capability

Level 3:  Behavior – extent of behavior and capability improvement and implementation/application

Level 4:  Results – the effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee’s performance

Many trainers are quite happy with achieving “Level 1” results — the students were happy at the end, and nobody threw rocks at them.  A little more challenging is “Level 2” results, where you can demonstrate that they actually remembered something.  “Level 3” takes us to an actual improvement in performance, and “Level 4” is the Holy Grail — actual change in the business resulting in money in the owner’s pockets.

But now that we’re dealing with a whole new crop of learners (called the “Millennials“, because their attention span can be measured in millionths of a second).  I’d like to propose some additional levels just below “Level 1″.  So I’ve done some thinking and have these to propose:

Kirkpatrick’s Levels For Millennials

Level .9 Had at least one browser window open to your content during training

Level .8 Logged in to your webcast and did not close the window for 60 minutes

Level .7 Downloaded your podcast audio to a folder somewhere on their desktop

Level .6 Printed out the PPT file you sent them to follow along with

Level .5 Clicked “ACCEPT” on the terms of use checkbox

Level .4 Complained that their audio was too loud or too soft

Level .3 Sent a chat message accidentally to all 105 participants about how hot you look

Level .2 Talked loudly to their dog/child/spouse in the background without muting their phone

Level .1 Could be heard to continue breathing for the entire lesson


So what do you think?  Are these goals too lofty for today’s learners?  Should Dr. Kirkpatrick allow us to slack off, a little — and not be such a snooty pants about people actually learning stuff when we teach?

I’d tell you to post a comment but I doubt I’d take time to read it.  Srsly.



  1. Dawn Adams Miller says

    Too true. I love the WebEx feature now that, for panelists, shows an exclamation point next to the names of attendees that don’t have the WebEx window in “focus.” I think we may need to apply Level 9 to our consumption metrics.