Faculty development initiatives need to address changes in dental education and new approaches to teaching and learning. Given the increasing complexity and pressures of health-care delivery, and competing demands on teachers’ time, faculty members must require a broad range of pedagogical and leadership strategies that they can use in diverse settings. To help faculty members fulfill their multiple roles, a variety of programs and activities have been designed and implemented. These initiatives include workshops and seminars, short courses and site visits, fellowships and other longitudinal programs.
We have utilized Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation model to analyze the outcomes of the development programs we selected to review in the current study. The Kirkpatrick model, which is well established and utilized throughout professional environment, is valuable because it simplifies the complex process of training evaluation (Bates, 2004; Holton, 1996). The model provides a straightforward guide to the kinds of questions that should be asked and he criteria that may be appropriate.
There are limitations to the Kirkpatrick model that have implication for the ability of training evaluators to deliver benefits towards the interests of organizational development. First, the four-level model presents an oversimplified view of training effectiveness that does not consider individual or contextual influences in the evaluation of training (Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 2001, Galloway, 2005). In addition, the model assumes that the levels of criteria represent a causal chain such that positive reactions lead to greater learning, yet a causal relationship between the four levels has not been proven (Alliger et al,. 1997). Furthermore, level 1 and level 2 are subject to bias, which may lead to erroneous conclusions (Holton et al., 2000; Wang, 2003).