The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded nationwide Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers (PERLCs), which provide training to state, local, and tribal public health organizations to meet workforce development needs in the areas of public health preparedness and response, specialized training, education, and consultation. As part of the PERLC network, Dr. Lisle Hites, assistant professor in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, used Donald Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation model to establish four evaluation working groups with the goal of developing evaluation criteria to address each level of the model. The purpose of the working groups was to inform and promote center-level and program-level evaluation across the PERLC network; to identify common training evaluation methods and measures; and to share materials, resources, and lessons learned with state, local, and tribal public health organizations for potential replication.
[Photo: Dr. Lisle Hites]
Dr. Hites and his fellow researchers found that the evaluation of education and training, irrespective of its modality (e.g., in-person, online, webinars, seminars, symposia) can be accomplished using Kirkpatrick’s four-level taxonomy, which aims to measure the following aspects of training programs: trainees’ reaction; knowledge acquired, skills improved, or attitudes changed; behavior changed; and results or impact. They concluded that, in order to successfully evaluate emergency preparedness training, drills, and exercises, it is necessary to understand the fundamental tenets of each level as well as how to apply each to measure training outcomes.
As a result of the assessment, the PERLC evaluators have adopted the basic schema of Kirkpatrick’s four-level model and applied its structure to a wide variety of preparedness and emergency response training and related activities. In addition, the PERLC evaluation working groups successfully developed and tested survey methods and instruments for each of the four levels, which can be used for replication by state, local, and tribal public health professionals.
“The Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers: Advancing Standardized Evaluation of Public Health Preparedness and Response Trainings” was published in the September-October issue of the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice.