How to prove the ROI of eLearning initiatives
October 04, 2018
Learning initiatives do more than keep employee skills up-to-date—they are a measurable way to make businesses more competitive.
Still, just 35 percent of talent development professionals say their organizations evaluate the business results of learning programs. In order for L&D professionals to get executive buy-in for their proposed programs, it's essential to be able to measure ROI in training and development to prove business impact.
Measurements, however, must go beyond the typical 'number of courses completed.' Quantifiable metrics such as productivity, employee happiness and engagement can help secure leadership buy-in on much-needed training programs and initiatives. By calculating elearning ROI, L&D professionals can back their proposals and goals with data.
Below, we examine metrics that can be used to measure elearning ROI and how to incorporate these metrics into the context of broader business goals.
Measure skills growth and performance improvement
The goal of each elearning course is, in some way, to improve how employees do their job. One of the most effective elearning ROI metrics L&D professionals can utilize is measuring improvement in performance. By tracking how performance progresses post-learning, L&D professionals can tie tangible results to learning investments.
To measure performance improvement, start by clearly defining what employees should be able to accomplish after completing a particular course. For example, the goal of training may be to eliminate the number of errors in a sales process or decrease customer service complaints. These desired outcomes will provide a standard that can be tested and measured. Next, administer an assessment both before and after course completion to gauge skills gained. As time goes on, observe on-the-job application of learned skills and run future assessments to track knowledge retention.
With these metrics in hand, L&D professionals can assess how well employees are learning and how far they've come. To demonstrate the impact of executive investment in training, convert this data to a monetary value such as cost savings by looking at factors like historical costs, payroll or manager assessment of improvement.
Pay attention to user behavior
Elearning ROI isn't a one-and-done calculation—and modern learning platform tools can be a big help. Many elearning solutions today allow L&D professionals to see how learners interact with available courses.
Use these functions to assess the effectiveness of training and tailor it to meet employee needs. Are the majority of learners driven to a certain type of module? Do some courses have particularly high or low completion rates? These analytics can help L&D professionals learn how their employee base learns best.
With numbers to back up the most frequented topics and types of learning, L&D professionals can gain greater support from executives to implement the type of training employees need. When company executives can see what type of learning is most effective for their workforce, they can more easily and confidently direct spend.
Track employee interaction
Today, elearning is more intuitive and interactive than ever before. Learning platforms allow employees to discuss their experiences with coworkers, engage in productive conversations with team members and share content they find valuable.
By tracking interaction between learners such as likes, mentions, replies or shares, L&D professionals can better understand how teams are collaborating. This information can be used to support larger business goals such as providing employees with the best tools to drive company-wide innovation, closing existing communication gaps or creating communities where people can come together to collaborate.
Don't overlook employee happiness
There's a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and professional development opportunities. Employees place a high value on the ability to learn and progress in their careers—42 percent of millennials say they are likely to leave their job if they feel they aren't learning fast enough.
While softer metrics like engagement and satisfaction can be tricky to track and measure, they are still important to report on for ROI in training and development. The good news is, learning platforms are designed with employee engagement in mind. Learning can be highly personalized, collaborative and purpose-driven.
To measure these softer returns, track employee satisfaction by asking for feedback and monitor attrition rates. Get the attention of executives by demonstrating how the right learning initiatives can create a stable, happy workforce.
There are many factors that can be utilized to measure and prove learning ROI. When developing online learning initiatives, L&D professionals should consider how company goals can best complement employee learning needs. By creating measurable learning outcomes that can be tied to broader business goals, L&D professionals can provide employees with the skills they need to be successful and business leaders with the data they need to be competitive.
Looking for a better way to demonstrate elearning ROI? Cornerstone Content can help you prove the worth of learning investments by using predictive analytics to measure elearning impact and engagement.