Evaluation of HRD Programs

HRD evaluation is “The systematic collection of descriptive and judgmental information necessary to make effective training decisions related to the selection, adoption, value, and modification of various instructional activities.” (Werner & DeSimone, 2009, p. 202) There are six general HRD evaluation frameworks, which include Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation Framework, the CIPP framework, Brinkerhoff’s Six Stages framework, Kraiger, Ford and Salas’ framework, Holton’s framework, and Philips’ framework. Kirkpatrick’s Framework, which is perhaps the most popular framework among HRD professionals, is based on four levels of evaluation including reaction, learning, job behavior and results. The CIPP framework is also based on four levels but they include context, input, process and product. The six stages of evaluation that characterize Brinkerhoff’s framework include goal setting, program design, program implementation, immediate outcomes, usage outcomes and impacts and worth. Kraiger, Ford, & Salas’ framework is based on a classification scheme that specifies three learning outcome categories including skill based, cognitive and affective learning. Holton’s framework isolates five variable categories and explores the relationships among them. These categories include secondary influences, environmental elements, motivation elements, outcomes and enabling elements. Finally, Phillips’ framework is founded on five levels including reaction and planned action, learning, applied learning on the job, business results and return on investment.

The main data collection methods used while analyzing HRD programs include interviews, questionnaires, direct observation, tests and simulations and archival performance data. The first four methods are suitable for qualitative analysis while the last method is suitable for quantitative analysis.

From a HRD perspective, Return on investment is the ratio of the results obtained from a training program and costs incurred to facilitate such a program. If this ratio is less than one, then it is concluded that the training costs are more than the benefits accrued from the program. Conversely, if it is greater than one, then the program is considered to be economically viable. As a general rule, the greater the ratio, the better the benefits. On the other end of the spectrum, return on expectations (ROE) is a holistic measurement of both qualitative and quantitative benefits of a training program (Stawarski, 2012). The more the benefits, the more effective the program is considered to be.

Even though it is primarily based on Kirkpatrick’s evaluation framework, I will use Phillips’ framework because it addresses most of the shortcomings inherent in the former. Phillips framework particularly goes beyond the four levels prescribed by Kirkpatrick and introduces a financial accounting perspective to HRD evaluation by computing the return on investment (ROI) of the training program. Additionally, the framework broadens level 3 and level 4 of the original framework to incorporate transfer of learning and outcomes to other processes apart from the training program. This framework essentially supports the implementation of the HRD evaluation process while at the same time replicating this process across the organization (Stawarski, 2012).

The ROI methodology is a critical part of Phillips’ framework. Using this methodology, the monetary benefits of the training program will be evaluated in relation to the overall profitability of the company and other programs both within and outside the organization. Additionally, it will not only be used to project future benefits of the program but also to measure the past performance of the company.

In order to increase the credibility of the evaluation process using ROI, conservative cost estimates will be adopted. Moreover, the management will endeavor to find reliable estimate sources and rely on hard data where applicable. Other than that, all the assumptions and techniques utilized to compute costs will be explained. Finally, a Balanced Scorecard approach will be adopted throughout the evaluation process.


Stawarski, C. A. (2012, October 8). What’s the Difference Between Return on Expectations and Return on Investment? Retrieved June 8, 2015, from Assocation for Talent Develpment : https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/L-and-D-Blog/2012/10/Whats-the-Difference-Between-Return-on-Expectations-and-Return-on-Investment

Werner, J. M., & DeSimone, R. L. (2009). Human resource development. Mason OH: South-Western Cengage Learning

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