Read the Final Words Don Kirkpatrick Left Just for You

Dr. Don Kirkpatrick

May 9, 2016 will mark two years since Don’s passing. It is still hard.

It is also good. I still hear his words of guidance and encouragement when I re-read articles he wrote or view videos of him teaching. I am still reminded of who he was when I look at his picture in my office, or put his final birthday card to me on our mantle, or when I fish in a trout stream in his beloved Wisconsin. 

Those are my private memories, but I do have something that might interest you, something that he intended to be for you.

In his final days, I sat with him with a pen and paper and asked him what he wanted to say to you — his precious, final words about his four levels. Wendy and I took his words and included them as part of the foreword of our new book, Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation, published by ATD Press. Here is an excerpt:

Before I sign off, I would like to say some things about training evaluation and my model. First, the legacy I leave will be the four levels, not me. I am glad that I got to meet many of you, and some of you enjoyed the way I taught the four levels (with my overhead projector and Packer song). My wish for you is that you find ways to use the model to better train people, which will improve the way they do their work and ultimately contribute to the goals of your organization. 

Since it takes a long time to get a book published, I will likely be gone by the time you read this. I am tired, my precious wife Fern has passed away and I have given all I have to give. I am so very thankful for Wendy and Jim and the rest of my family, and for all of you who use my four levels. 

I leave you with the last stanza of a poem that I think will encourage you:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

(Robert Frost, 1916)

There are two sides to Don here. The first is that he was always so pleased that people found new ways to implement the four levels. He loved ATD, was a past president, and was so excited that we have teamed up with them for this new book. He often asked, “Is it really going to be ground-breaking?” I would always answer, “I think so, Dad!” We thank ATD for being a driving force behind it.

The second side is a view of Don’s spirit. The human spirit behind the four levels. You notice that he mentioned the “Packer song.” We now offer it to you to see for yourselves. 

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Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation