An Overview: Brinkerhoff's Method for Learning Evaluation

Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method (SCM) focuses on qualitative analysis and crafting stories from discussions with a small number (i.e. about two to six) of affected parties. But this model is not restricted to learning, as it can be used to analyze any major business change, such as the purchase of new equipment or implementation of a new process.

What is the Brinkerhoff model?

While some learning programs are resounding successes, and others are total flops—most of the time, they fall somewhere in the middle. Regardless of your overall training program's success, there will always be a few outliers: those learners who performed or scored exceptionally well and those for whom the program did not work.

Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method (SCM) involves identifying the most and least successful cases within your learning program and studying them in detail. By comparing the successes to the failures, you learn what to change to ensure success in future endeavors. Based on what you learn, you can also write and publicize success stories to show the value of your program.

To Brinkerhoff or not to Brinkerhoff?

Remember, Brinkerhoff's Success Case Model is not designed to help judge the overall success of an initiative. Rather, it's to help you learn from the most and least successful cases. We’re not sure if Brinkerhoff would agree, but we recommend using his method alongside other learning evaluation methods to paint a full picture. When it comes to particularly important or innovative programs, however, the Success Case Model will help you dig deeper, learn lessons, and shout about successes.


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