Using the Kirkpatrick Model to enhance Discovery Learning for Leadership Development

Article by Ken Thompson, last updated October 2021

The Kirkpatrick Model is an important and well-respected framework for validating investments in management and leadership development.

According to the Kirkpatrick Partners website1 the model suggests 4 different levels of value from any people-related investment:

Level 1: Reaction

The degree to which participants find the training favourable, engaging, and relevant to their jobs

Level 2: Learning

The degree to which participants acquire the intended knowledge, skills, attitude, confidence, and commitment based on their participation in the training

Level 3: Behavior

The degree to which participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job

Level 4: Results

The degree to which targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training and the support and accountability package


Whilst the Kirkpatrick model is primarily intended for designing and validating the value from learning activities it can also be used very effectively during any Discovery Learning activity (such as Business Simulations) by asking participants to reflect on just 4 simple questions during and after the activity:

Q1: What did you LIKE?

Q2: What did you LEARN?

Q3: How will your BEHAVIOR change to reflect your LEARNING back on the job?

Q4 What improved RESULTS will your organization see from your new BEHAVIOR?


1. Kirkpatrick Partners website:

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Ken Thompson

Ken is a practitioner, author and speaker on Leadership, Collaborative Working, High Performing Teams, Change Management, Project Management and Business Acumen. His work has featured in major publications including The Guardian , Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Henry Ford Magazine. Ken has also spoken at many international events including TEDx, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Learn Tech (London) and NASA.

Ken is Founder of Business Simulations Ltd.

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