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Week 3 Disadvantages Of The Kirkpatrick Model

Week 3 – Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Kirkpatrick Model

Kirkpatricks Taxonomy

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This week’s lecture describes the advantages and disadvantages of using Kirkpatrick’s taxonomy. As an HR employee tasked with creating and evaluating a training course for your organization, how would you use Kirkpatrick’s taxonomy to evaluate the training?  What could you do to minimize the disadvantages of the tool?

Use this week’s lecture as a basis for your post. Reference and cite the textbook in your original post.  respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.


Read the article “Apple is Beta-testing an Update that Kills Evasion Jailbreak.”  In the textbook, beta-testing is described as used for formative evaluation and for fine-tuning. How does the story of Apple’s beta-test meet the criteria?

Reference and cite the textbook in your original post. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts.

Week 3 – Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Kirkpatrick Model

In chapter five of the textbook, there is an introduction to Kirkpatrick’s Taxonomy, also referred to as the Kirkpatrick model. The textbook explains the four levels of the evaluation. In creating a training program not only is it necessary to understand how the models work, but also course developers/trainers should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the models. The volume of training models, procedures, and assessments can be overwhelming.  However, understanding the popular tools to create training courses and programs gives the developer the necessary skills to create successful training.

Bates (2004) conducted a critical analysis of the Kirkpatrick model. His analysis includes advantages, disadvantages, and suggestions for improvements to the model. Bates noted that the Kirkpatrick model is one of the most popular models in organizational design for the evaluation of training. The main reason for the popularity of the Kirkpatrick model is that simplicity of the model (Bates, 2004).

Bates (2004) posited that the model has three key advantages. First, the model provides the trainer/developer with a systematic method for training evaluation. The language of the model is easy to comprehend. The objectives and outcomes of the training are easy to identify. Second, according to Kirkpatrick, the material about the level four outcome is the most valuable and comprehensive available (Bates, 2004). Third, the model simplifies the process of training evaluation in three ways:

  1. A guide to the questions and criteria that are appropriate for the specific training.
  2. The model reduces the measurements of success to easily measure outcomes.
  3. The model reduces the number of variables needed to measure the success of the outcomes (Bates, 2004).

Bates (2004) stated that the model has three limitations (disadvantages): incompleteness of the model, assumption of causality, and the assumption of increasing importance of the information as the levels of outcomes are climbed. The incompleteness of the model refers to the oversimplification of the model. The model does not reflect individual or contextual influences of the evaluation of the training (Bates, 2004). Some contextual factors that can affect the effectiveness of the model include the organizational learning culture, organizational values, internal environment for interpersonal support available for skill acquisition and behavioral change, the organizational climate for transfer of learning, and the sufficiency of material resources for training development (Bates, 2004).

Bates (2004) stated that “Kirkpatrick’s model assumes that the levels of criteria represent a causal chain such that positive reactions lead to greater learning, which produces greater transfer and subsequently more positive organizational results” (p. 342). Research has demonstrated that positive reactions do not always create learning (Bates, 2004). Bates posited that Kirkpatrick’s model assumes that each level of data is more informative than the prior level. The assumption leads to the assumption that the data from level four is the most important. This is not necessarily true (Bates, 2004).

The lesson from this analysis is bigger than just examining the Kirkpatrick model. To increase the likelihood of success, individuals must be aware that all alternatives should be weighed based on advantages and disadvantages. Understanding disadvantages allows the individual to develop alternatives to lessen the impact of disadvantages of methods and tools.


Bates, R. (2004). A critical analysis of evaluation practice: the Kirkpatrick model and the principle of beneficence. Evaluation and Program Planning, 27, 341-347.  Retrieved from

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