Evaluating the Success of Apprenticeships Using the Kirkpatrick Framework


Determining the efficacy of apprenticeship schemes is crucial for all stakeholders involved: the apprentices themselves, their employers, and the education providers offering the training. The Kirkpatrick Model, a four-tiered system for evaluating training programmes, provides a reliable method for understanding the impact of such schemes.

A Brief Overview of the Kirkpatrick Framework

Originally conceived by Professor Donald Kirkpatrick, the model was updated in 2016 by James and Wendy Kayser Kirkpatrick under the name ‘New World Kirkpatrick Model’. This model has been widely recognised for its emphasis on the applicability of training to real-world job scenarios—a vital consideration for apprenticeships.

The Kirkpatrick Framework Explained

The Kirkpatrick Model is segmented into four levels: Reaction, Learning, Behaviour, and Results. Each level offers an increasingly detailed evaluation of the efficacy of a training programme.

Level 1: Participant Feedback

The first level seeks to understand the apprentice’s emotional response to the training. It’s imperative to monitor their engagement and contributions to understand their reactions. This initial feedback can offer valuable insights into areas for improvement in future apprenticeship schemes.

Key questions at this stage might include:

– Did you find the training beneficial?
– Can you identify strong and weak aspects of the training?
– Were the training activities compelling?

Information at this stage can be collected via questionnaires, first-hand observations, or direct feedback.

Level 2: Knowledge Gained

At this level, the focus is on assessing what the apprentice has actually learned. Prior to starting the training, initial assessments of the apprentice’s skill set, knowledge base, and attitudes should be conducted. Post-training assessments can include interviews or written evaluations to measure what has been learned.

Level 3: Behavioural Changes

This tier examines how effectively apprentices are applying what they’ve acquired. It’s important to recognise that changes in behaviour are often subject to other influences, such as organisational culture. Monitoring these changes involves observing the apprentices and assessing their ability to share their newly gained skills and insights.

Level 4: Final Outcomes

The ultimate level assesses the results that benefit both the company and the apprentices. The aim here is to determine if there has been a strong return on investment (ROI). Some trainers apply the Kirkpatrick Model in reverse, identifying desired outcomes first before developing the training to achieve those objectives.

Aligning with the OfSTED Education Inspection Framework

For those delivering apprenticeships, the OfSTED Education Inspection Framework is an additional component to consider. Using the Kirkpatrick Framework allows you to gauge your curriculum’s impact effectively, thus aligning your methods with OfSTED’s inspection criteria.

In Summary

Measuring apprenticeship effectiveness may appear overwhelming, but the Kirkpatrick Framework simplifies this task. It offers a complete picture of how an apprentice progresses, from initial reactions to the final outcomes.

Pairing the Kirkpatrick Model with tools like learning maps and the OfSTED Education Inspection Framework ensures compliance with regulatory standards and optimises the educational journey for apprentices.

The ultimate aim of an apprenticeship scheme is not merely to provide theoretical knowledge but to equip apprentices with the necessary skills for their future careers. The true success of an apprenticeship scheme lies not just in its completion but in the contributions, development, and growth of the apprentices themselves.


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