The Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers: Advancing standardized evaluation of public health preparedness and response trainings

Academic Article


  • Introduction: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers (PERLCs) across the United States. The PERLCs 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. Methods/Activity: Using Donald Kirkpatrick's training evaluation model, the PERLC network established 4 evaluation working groups that developed 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; identify common training evaluation methods and measures; and share materials, resources, and lessons learned with state, local, and tribal public health organizations for potential replication. Results/Outcomes: The evaluation of education and training, irrespective of its modality (eg, in-person, online, webinars, seminars, symposia) can be accomplished using Kirkpatrick's 4-level taxonomy. Discussion: The 4 levels aim to measure the following aspects of training programs: (1) trainees' reaction; (2) knowledge acquired, skills improved, or attitudes changed; (3) behavior changed; and (4) results or impact. To successfully evaluate emergency preparedness training, drills and exercises, it is necessary to understand the fundamental tenets of each level and how to apply each to measure training outcomes. Lessons Learned/Next Steps: The PERLC evaluators have adopted the basic schema of Kirkpatrick's 4-level model and applied its structure to a wide variety of preparedness and emergency response training and related activities. The PERLC evaluation working groups successfully developed and tested survey methods and instruments for each of the 4 levels of Kirkpatrick's training evaluation model. Each can be used for replication by state, local, and tribal public health professionals. Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hites LS; Sass MM; D'Ambrosio L; Brown LM; Wendelboe AM; Peters KE; Sobelson RK
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • SUPPL. 5