Answered Essay: Describe thoroughly the five international impact evaluation models. Please explain

Describe thoroughly the five international impact evaluation models. Please explain in atleast 4 to 5 pages.
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Expert Answer

The five international impact evaluation models are :
  1. Integrated Evaluation model for Human Resource Development
  2. Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation
  3. Human Performance Technology model
  4. Strategy for learning transfer, and
  5. Adaptive systems model.


Overview of the model

The Integrated Evaluation Model for Human Resource Development (HRD) of Robert Brinkerhoff covers the broader skills development process, including the planning, programme design and delivery, as well as measuring the impact in achieving the desired organisational objectives.

The integrated model for evaluating HRD follows the basic logic of the six stages of HRD programme development and implementation :

  1. A need, problem or opportunity worth addressing exists that could be influenced favourably by someone learning something.
  2. An HRD programme that has the potential to teach what is needed is designed or accessed.
  3. The designed programme is successfully implemented.
  4. The participants exit the programme after acquiring the intended skills, knowledge, values and/or attitudes.
  5. The participants retain and use their newly acquired learning in their workplace.
  6. The organisation benefits when participants apply their learning in the workplace.

Brinkerhoff’s model integrates evaluation in the six stages described above:

Stage 1 – Evaluation of goal setting: What is the skills need that has to be addressed?

Stage 2 – Evaluation of programme design: What kind of intervention will be the best to address the identified need?

Stage 3 – Evaluation of programme implementation: How well is the programme being implemented?

Stage 4 – Evaluation of the achievement of immediate outcomes: Did the learners learn what they were supposed to learn?

Stage 5 – Evaluation of the achievement of intermediate or usage outcomes: Are the learners continuing to use and apply what they have learnt?

Stage 6 – Evaluation of the impact and worth: Did the intervention make a worthwhile difference in the workplace?

Key elements of the model

Brinkerhoff emphasises the need for evaluation from the planning and design of an intervention, through to the implementation and achievement of the desired objectives. All stages of the HRD process should be evaluated, i.e. the analysis of the need, the design and development of the intervention, and the implementation.

The model stresses the importance of designing the intervention on the basis of an accurate identification of the skills needs to ensure that the selected design is fit-for-purpose.

Brinkerhoff also highlights the importance of making sure that the skills need is sufficiently important to justify an intervention, and that a training programme is the most appropriate way of addressing the identified need. This addresses the unfortunate tendency among some managers of sending underperformers on training programmes before analysing the cause of the performance problem, and without considering whether other interventions may be more effective in addressing the problem.

The model indicates the importance of specifying the desired learning outcomes, the behavioural change that will result from the learners applying their learning in the workplace, as well as the desired business results. This will ensure that interventions are focused on these outcomes, changes and results.

The model makes it possible to monitor an intervention across all six stages, and to identify and correct problems throughout the planning, development and implementation. This avoids the common problem of back-end evaluations which identify problems after the programme has been concluded.


Overview of the model

Donald Kirkpatrick introduced a four-level evaluation model that is widely accepted as the standard for evaluating learning programmes. The four levels at which learning interventions should be evaluated are:

  • Level 1 evaluation – Reaction: Did the learners find the programme relevant, interesting and enjoyable?
  • Level 2 evaluation – Learning: Did the learners acquire the knowledge, understanding, skills, values and/or attitudes during the programme?
  • Level 3 evaluation – Behaviour: Are the learners applying the learning in the workplace?
  • Level 4 evaluation – Results: Does the application of learning have a positive impact in the workplace?

Key elements of the model

The model supports continuous evaluation at different stages of the delivery of a learning programme to determine the effectiveness of the programme for the learners and the workplace.

Different role players are responsible for evaluation at the four levels:

  1. Level 1 evaluation should be conducted by the learning facilitator at the end of a learning programme, but it could be conducted at various intervals during the programme.
  2. Level 2 evaluation is mainly conducted by assessors.
  3. It could be argued that the responsibility for level 3 and 4 evaluation is shared by the training provider and employer. Ideally, they should conduct follow-up evaluations after completion of a programme to determine whether learners are applying the learning and whether the programme has made an impact on business performance.


Overview of the model

The model promotes a systematic approach to analysing, improving and managing performance in the workplace. The main objective of the model is to ensure that training is focused on addressing the gap between current and desired performance to ensure that the organisation’s needs are met. It focuses on the interrelationship and alignment of factors impacting on workplace performance and which support or inhibit the transfer of learning. The model stresses the importance of identifying the systems and processes in the work environment that need to be modified in order to address performance gaps (e.g. coaching of the learner and feedback from the manager), as well as appropriate incentives and rewards.

Key elements of the model

  • Performance consulting is the key process in this model. ‘Human performance technologists’ (broadly referring to HRD professionals) must establish collaborative relationships with management and others. They must work together to identify performance needs and develop and implement strategies for improving performance linked to organisational goals. The strategic partnership and collaboration in addressing performance gaps are essential components of this model.
  • The human performance technologists must clearly understand the goals and strategies the organisation wants to achieve, as well as the performance that is required for the organisation to thrive, so that they can link performance enhancement activities to organisational needs and goals.
  • The model recognises that training is only one factor influencing on-the-job performance. Therefore, it is essential to determine conditions in the work environment that must be modified to support training interventions and contribute towards performance improvement.
  • Human performance technologists specialise in developing solutions to performance problems, and work with informed people in the organisation to determine all the interventions that are required for training interventions to contribute towards improved performance.


Overview of the model

What Broad & Newstrom described in their book, Transfer of training (1992) is not strictly a model, but rather strategies for supporting the transfer of learning. However, because the transfer of learning is critical in evaluating the overall impact of skills development, this aspect has been incorporated into the IM&E model. The central theme of this book is how to ensure the effective transfer of the knowledge and skills acquired during training sessions to the workplace in order to support and maintain performance.

Transfer is defined as the effective and continuing application, by learners to their jobs, of the knowledge and skills gained in training on and off the job. The authors confirm the common problem regarding learning transfer by estimating that about 80% of the knowledge and skills gained during training are not fully applied by employees in their work. The book addresses the common problem of how to ensure that learning interventions – which are implemented at high cost to organisations in terms of money, time away from work, production losses, etc. – actually translate into organisational benefits.

Key elements of the model

  • If organisations are to benefit from the skills development interventions, they must improve the transfer of learning. They should also identify potential barriers in the workplace that inhibit the transfer of learning, e.g. lack of reinforcement on the job, non-supportive organisational cultures and resistance to change.
  • The responsibility for promoting the transfer of learning must be shared by the learner’s manager/supervisor, the training provider and the learner. In particular, it involves taking managers from behind the scenes and placing them in visible management roles in relation to the skills development of their employees.
  • Broad and Newstrom introduce a ‘transfer matrix’ to stress the important role of all three partners before, during and after the delivery of the intervention, as depicted in Table 1. They stipulate what each partner must do at these three stages to ensure that the intervention achieves the desired results in the organisation in a sustainable way
  • Achieving the desired impact in the workplace requires proactive planning of transfer, including actions to support learning transfer before, during and after a learning intervention. Therefore, one of the steps in the overall planning and delivery of a learning intervention must be the establishment of the three-way partnership between the manager, learner and learning facilitator. This partnership is reflected in the interaction that is required between Steps 5 and 6.


Overview of the model

The underlying assumption in systems models is that the delivery of a programme is only one phase in the broader life cycle of a programme, covering the inception, planning, implementation, ongoing administration, and eventually the termination or obsolescence of the programme. Systems models also recognise that programmes are delivered within a specific organisational setting, which places certain demands and constraints on the programme. Such models assist in evaluating a programme in relation to its organisational context and decisions taken over its life cycle

Adaptive systems models include feedback loops throughout a programme to facilitate continuous monitoring, adaptation and improvement of all processes in the life cycle.

Key elements of the model

The adaptive systems model promotes the evaluation of the following main issues in HRD interventions:

  • Inputs: including the front-end analysis within the workplace context, the identification of the needs of the organisation and stakeholders, programme objectives and environmental variables that will affect programme design and implementation
  • The processing system that converts the inputs into outputs: where different options are considered and decisions taken on the most appropriate way of addressing the identified needs within the specific organisational context – considering the cost, available resources and appropriateness of the programme for the specific context
  • The outputs: i.e. the learners who come out of the processing system having acquired some knowledge, skills, attitudes and/or values
  • The receiving system: i.e. the area or workplace unit where the learners work, and where they are required to apply what they have learnt, and
  • The results: i.e. the impact of the intervention in improvement in on-the-job performance demonstrated in the achievement of the desired objectives, as well as tracking learner progress after the programme to determine whether the programme has had a long-term and lasting impact in the organisation.

Feedback loops are critical in adaptive systems models as they generate information about the effectiveness of the inputs and processing system in addressing the needs in the receiving system. This information must be used in making the required adaptations. Systems models generally include four levels of evaluation, similar to Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation:

  1. Are the learners satisfied with the programme?
  2. Does the programme teach the concepts?
  3. Are the concepts used on the job?
  4. Does application of the concepts positively affect the organisation?
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