Title

The New World Kirkpatrick Model in Nutrition Education Training Programs Evaluation

Date of Award

6-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Evaluation

First Advisor

Dr. David Hartmann

Second Advisor

Dr. Marianne Di Pierro

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald G. McCloud

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Marci K. Scott

Abstract

The assessment and evaluation of training programs for nutrition educators is one project area that has limited study that is driven from a sound theoretical foundation. One nutrition education program that promotes healthy food choices and physically active lifestyles within a limited budget is the SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). The SNAP-Ed program in Michigan is administered by the Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF).

Although evaluation of the SNAP-Ed program has always been lauded and held to a high standard, clear instructions regarding how the SNAP-Ed training programs should be evaluated is lacking. This dissertation attempts to use a contemporary training program evaluation theory, the New World Kirkpatrick Model (2010), which is being promoted in the evaluation field. The applicability of the New World Kirkpatrick Model as a framework to evaluate the MFF’s Regional Training program is explored throughout this dissertation. A mixed-method approach has been employed to complete this study. In particular, a web-based survey and three online focus groups were administered to collect data needed to adequately answer research questions proposed in this study.

The findings show that the New World Kirkpatrick Model is an effective approach to evaluate the Regional Training program at MFF. Eight themes that can further inform the planning and delivery of the training program were identified from the qualitative data. This study also investigated the correlation among four levels (reaction, learning, behavior, and results) of the New World Kirkpatrick Model, and the findings indicated that there is a positive correlation among these four levels of the model. These results provide further evidence that the outcome of the training program does not differ by participant’s demographic characteristics, such as gender, age, race, level of education, or experience. Overall, this study has significance as it proposes a sound training program evaluation approach that can assist MFF to make informed decisions on revising and improving the current training programs. Moreover, this dissertation contributes to the evaluation field by demonstrating the effectiveness (and limitations) of the New World Kirkpatrick Model as an evaluation tool in the nutrition field by providing a comprehensive example of training program evaluation.

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