The Kirkpatrick Model
Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Kirkpatrick Model
Named for educator Benjamin Bloom, Bloom’s Taxonomy seeks to answer questions that are fundamental to an understanding of the educational process. Bloom’s Taxonomy works to establish learning objectives that clearly set out goals against which student performance is measured. Bloom implemented the Kirkpatrick model into the taxonomy to help improve his methods. That method includes increasing cognitive knowledge, affective domain—targets the growth of attitudes, emotions, and feelings, as well as the ability to manipulate tools and instruments in the performance of their duty.
Bloom’s findings put teeth into the explanation of why Kirkpatrick’s model is so efficient in the training of employees. Understanding the educational underpinnings of what helps people learn, and what puts students off from the educational process are described in Bloom’s Taxonomy. The two, working in conjunction, affords human resource directors the tools they need to better evaluate their training options.
- Level 1 of the Kirkpatrick model involves the reaction of the learning participants to the material presented. This aspect is important to determine whether your students will be actively engaged in the material, or you will find them passing out in the middle of the most elaborate doodling session you have ever seen. Under the Bloom Taxonomy, this concern is addressed in the affective domain aspect of learning. Specifically, identifying and determining the lowest level of student passivity is critical because no learning can be achieved beneath this threshold. Additionally, Bloom looks at what motivates the learner’s engagement regarding the values attached to the material by the student. Once a student has attached significant value to a learning outcome, they will strive that much harder to absorb the material because they recognize the value of the information.
- Level 2 of the Kirkpatrick model looks to the efficacy of the training material. In short, level 2 asks what the students learned. After all, their reaction from level 1 might have been fantastic, but that does not necessarily mean that they absorbed any of the material. Known as the cognitive domain, this aspect of learning identifies the way students obtain, retain, and use knowledge after a student’s training session has ended. This acknowledges the very real reality that different students learn best in different ways. Some prefer diving in with a hands-on activity that gives them a solid feeling for the topic while another learner might prefer to read up thoroughly on the subject before even considering approaching the task. Neither approach is right or wrong, but rather the natural response each individual has towards the process of learning new information and material. Whereas level two of the Kirkpatrick model serves to determine what students learn, Bloom’s Taxonomy explains how that knowledge is attained.
- Level 3 of the Kirkpatrick model measures behavioral changes in the trainee owing to lessons drawn from the presented curriculum. For instance, does the sensitivity training you offer lead to a marked decline in objectionable behavior on the part of an individual employee? Likewise, did job-shadowing exercises lead to your worker to gain skills across a broad array of company positions? As mentioned, different students adopt learning competencies at different paces, so utilizing Bloom Taxonomy allows you to understand the root cause of what works for each student situation.
- Level 4 of the Kirkpatrick model, judging the tangible results of your student’s training, is greatly augmented by Bloom’s Taxonomy, which works to establish learning objectives that clearly set out goals against which student performance is measured. Understanding the outcomes you want to achieve makes it far easier to structure a training exercise that is relevant to meeting those goals.
Just as educators are consistently evaluating their curriculum for its efficacy in teaching their students, so too are businesses looking at their training programs with an eye towards gauging the effects of the training programs they use on the professional development of their employees. Towards that end, human resource directors are turning to measurable models to produce, implement, and analyze their training material. This allows them to forgo simply “winging it” in favor of utilizing proven systems that are designed to achieve tangible and measurable results.
Building your training curriculum and establishing benchmarks against which to measure training success is much easier when you use an established learning model with a proven record of accomplishment. When looking to achieve tangible results that can lead to increased performance for your employees, it is foolish to reinvent the wheel when developing your program when there are existing models that already work extremely well.