How to measure Return On Investment (ROI) from elearning programmes

4th March 2015

If you’re running an elearning course for your organisation, it’s important to understand the value that your organisation and its staff are getting from that programme.

Reviewing or evaluating the learning and development you and your workers undertake allows you to work towards improving it in the future. You can also track the progress of your staff as they learn and develop in addition to evaluating which learning methods are the right fit for your organisation.

If you can prove the Return On Investment (ROI) from your elearning programmes, then you can make a stronger business case for running future elearning programmes as well as compare how different suppliers and programmes better suit your needs.

Questions to ask

To get started measuring the ROI from elearning programmes, there are several questions to ask yourself to make sure that you are getting the right answers for your evaluation:

  • How has the learning helped your workforce deliver the aims and objectives of your business plan?
  • How much will the organisation either generate in revenue, reduce expenses, or will save in violations of a regulation?
  • Can an impact on your business be demonstrated?
  • Can your investment be quantified?
  • Has performance improved as a result?

There may be more questions you’ll want to ask specific to your organisation’s needs, but the above questions will form the core of any evaluation your are looking to carry out.

A measurement framework

Once you have answered those questions, you can move on to a measurement framework to help measure and improve the impact and value of your elearning programmes.

A simple but effective measurement framework we’d recommend comes under the name ‘Plan, Do, Review, Analyse’. Here is how each of those stages looks:

  • Plan: Identify the skills and knowledge gaps within your organisation and plan appropriate learning and development
  • Do: Attend the learning and/or development activity
  • Review: Undertake an immediate evaluation
  • Analyse: Carry out a time-lapsed evaluation of the usefulness and effectiveness of the learning and development

The first three sections are relatively straightforward to undertake, but how do you carry out a ‘time-lapsed evaluation’ of your elearning programmes?

There are several ways to get an accurate picture of the success of any learning and development programme:

  • Employee supervision and performance appraisal: Review the impact on the employee’s performance as part of your regular appraisal process.
  • Business performance evaluations: The effectiveness of learning and development can be evaluated by measuring tangible performance indicators, such as reductions in errors, improved record-keeping and lower absenteeism and turnover.
  • Qualitative improvements that learning and development can bring: improved customer feedback, better teamwork, fewer customer complaints and greater innovation within your organisation.
  • Customer feedback: A simple survey on specific aspects of your service delivery can give you a very good insight into whether there has been an improvement as a result of your investment in learning and development.

You may come up with other ways of analysing the effectiveness of your elearning programmes, but even if you only carried out the above suggestion, you’d have a solid analysis to work from.

What other ways do you measure Return On Investment (ROI) from your elearning programmes?

If you’d like to discuss the effectiveness of your elearning programmes, please get in touch with Marshall ACM and we’d be happy to discuss your organisation’s learning and development needs.

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