10 Strategies for Measuring Learning ROI

Designing Digitally


Custom eLearning

Measuring the ROI of your learning program is most effective when it’s built into the program.

If a learning program can’t produce results, it won’t last long. Corporate training plans are funded with the expectation that the benefits will outweigh the costs, which is why it’s crucial to measure learning ROI. In the past, those who were funding the educational opportunities were more willing to take a leap of faith when it came to learning.

Unfortunately, tightened budgets have changed things and an organization’s capacity to pay for learning programs has dwindled. It’s imperative that a method for measuring the ROI of a learning program be built in. Here are some ways this can be accomplished.

1. Don’t be too extreme

Determining the true return on investment of a learning activity can be difficult. Since learning isn’t always quantifiable, demonstrating ROI doesn’t have to perfect. It just needs to show enough data to prove the program is valuable. If the method you’re using is too expensive or too hard to calculate, it’s probably not the best option.

2. Make a mental shift to a results-centric mindset

Figuring out ROI is more than just computation. It’s a mindset that places the most value on the impact of learning, not only the quality of the training. Focus on the results of the experience.

3. Measuring learning ROI should be continuous

You should always know how your learning program is performing so that adjustments can be made right away. Evaluating the effectiveness of your corporate training once every year or two is better than not at all, but it isn’t ideal.

A little snapshot doesn’t allow for making necessary changes to the program in real-time. Determining that something isn’t working isn’t as helpful after the fact. When the assessment component is built into the larger program, continuous monitoring is possible and issues can be remedied right away. This continual monitoring also gives you the opportunity to justify expenditures at any point and plan for long term success.

4. Build your case for ROI in a strategic, step-by-step manner

You should be able to show how and where the particular training program is bringing value into your organization.

For example, calculate data such as the percentage of learners whose training had a direct result on improving business, as well as a number representing the total percentage of growth the company has shown since implementing the learning initiative.

Demonstrate the business impact with relevant numbers that prove the worth of your corporate training program.

5. Don’t skimp on the details

Confirm your results with as much data as possible. It’s a good idea to record learners’ responses as soon as they finish training, as well as a few months down the road, after they’ve had a chance to apply their new knowledge.

Make sure to include the feedback from managers and supervisors, too. Gathering evaluations from as many perspectives as possible will provide the most comprehensive results.

6. Measuring learning ROI isn’t only about dollars

Of course, everyone is looking for proof that your training program is worth the financial investment. But that’s not all that’s important. You should also pay close attention to:

  • Quality.
  • Effectiveness.
  • Business impact.
  • Behavior change.
  • Job results.

Find the indicators that tell the overall story of your program and it will provide the necessary credibility to your data.

7. Be moderate when calculating ROI

Low-ball your numbers to account for bias. Enthusiastic learners can skew the results. Place more emphasis on the data you gather over time, as opposed to the reactions immediately following a training activity. Follow up 60-90 days after the event to get the truest results, once people have had time to put what they’ve learned into practice on the job.

8. Personalize the investment ratio

Because ROI is about the return on an investment, you have to determine what that investment is. Think about:

  • The cost of delivery.
  • Travel and lodging for employees, if necessary.
  • Salary to compensate for time away from work.

Present the cost as a “per participant” number to make it more palatable.

9. Share the story behind the numbers

Highlight your data with meaningful, relevant examples and don’t just toss numbers around. Be open and honest about what your goals were before the training program was implemented, the challenges that came up during the implementation, and how the issues were overcome to produce positive outcomes.

10. Don’t get discouraged by the numbers

The purpose of measuring learning ROI is to identify areas that aren’t working, as well as those that are. If your ROI is low, put a positive spin on it. Look at it as having the information you need to address weak areas in your training program.

The bottom line

In a time when each dollar an organization spends has to stand up to scrutiny, you have to measure the ROI of your corporate training programs. Implementing ROI evaluation into your learning experience will give you the greatest ability to get a true assessment.

At Designing Digitally, Inc., our experts work with customers with small and large training budgets. To learn how how to maximize the ROI of your upcoming eLearning experiences, contact the Learning Solutions Specialists at Designing Digitally today!