Let’s face it: There are some things in life that are easy to measure. Your waist in relation to the pants size you wore in college, for example. But other things aren’t as easy to quantify. eLearning ROI is one of those things that can be difficult to capture, especially because it doesn’t always deal with numbers, but human users. While you may not be able to assign a numerical value to the exact ROI you receive by implementing an eLearning program for training and education, you can look for ways in which eLearning has improved efficiency, achieved a goal and ultimately, balanced your bottom line.
Vision Creation and Measurable Goals
Before you can ever measure your eLearning ROI, you must first create a vision for the end result. Cisco’s vice president of Internet learning solutions, Tom Kelly, tells Workforce Magazine, “To prove the full ROI of eLearning you need to measure its value.” You can’t measure value without first visualizing the end result. Whether you’re aiming for better customer satisfaction, faster training or better information retention, you’ll need to create your eLearning curriculum with that vision in mind. This can also help you relay your goals as you communicate with your instructional design expert.
While you may not be able to measure exactly what each user gets out of the learning experience, you can measure the time frame in which the curriculum is designed, delivered and put into action in the real world. By creating a realistic timeline, you can later measure eLearning ROI based upon the meeting of deadlines and the usage of resources to get the program from vision to completion and delivery. In general, the longer it takes, the more resources you’re using and eventually, the lower the ROI for the project.
Retention and Efficiency
Some of your ROI won’t be apparent until after all of the users have completed the course material. You should, however, start to see a return in the retention and application of the material in daily business. Whether it was a safety course for new recruits or implementing a new sales program, regular employee audits and evaluations can help you see whether or not the new program was worth the time and money put into it. Whether you’re looking for better numbers or more efficient workers, future analysis can help you determine your ROI.
It all boils down to the bottom line. You’ll be hard-pressed to efficiently measure eLearning ROI without a clear idea of just what that investment was. Don’t just determine monetary costs, such as outsourcing the instructional design — take other elements into consideration, such as the time spent on the project and the actual expenditure of time and effort for the learners themselves. When the production costs and time involved culminate in lackluster results, you may need to rethink your strategy for user engagement and lower initial costs to better balance eLearning ROI.