Over the past decade, the eLearning industry has gone through a very rapid expansion. This expansion was driven by the improving web technologies and the obvious need for online learning. Beside this, eLearning offers many benefits for businesses and course users. These benefits range from reduced training costs and easy content distribution, to tracking entire learning behaviours and making classes more efficient.
Online courses surpass legacy instructor based training in many things; for instance, the instruction time goes down 60%. And when you take a look at it from the return on investment standpoint, eLearning also excels. Did you know that corporations reported 50% reduced training costs after they implemented online training?
One challenge remains, though. And that is how to demonstrate the ROI of corporate online training. Let’s go through some of the key advantages and how to assess your ROI for eLearning.
Benefits of Online Corporate Training
As already stated above, corporate training has many advantages and benefits to offer to an organization. The following ones are the ones that drive organizations to move their training to the online world:
- Simple and easy tracking of the learning progress and easy expansion in terms of tracking and recording. This is because the latest learning management software uses Tin Can specifications, rather than only SCORM.
- Easy access. Unlike instructor-based corporate training, online training with lms software can be accessed anytime and anywhere. Since the online learning platform is cloud based and mobile ready, employees can take courses from the device of their own choosing and learn whenever it pleases them. With this software, it is very easy to create online sales training courses, and sales representatives can access them right on the spot.
- Cost-effective. Since there is no need to pay for seminars, educators, materials, tests and all other things connected to legacy corporate training, online training is a really budget-friendly solution.
- Employees can learn at their own pace. By allowing employees to go through the materials at their own pace, organizations significantly increase the amount of knowledge absorbed by employees.
- Updates are made very simple. All employees get notified that there are some updates made to the course material. With this software in their hands, corporations won’t need to rewrite documents and print out dozens of copies. Through a very simple interface, it is easy to create online sales training and invite entire sales teams to attend it with a few clicks.
ROI and Corporate Training
So, what is ROI and why is it the primary focus of any organization? Simply put, ROI is profit. It can be assessed by comparing the investment and the value or financial gain accumulated. Every organization’s goal is to have more gains than the initial investment.
Since online training affects many aspects of business, measuring the ROI of online training is a bit tricky. But, it’s not so complicated. It is important to identify all aspects affected by the advantages of online learning. Let’s see those aspects in the next paragraph.
How to Measure ROI
The easiest way to start is to list the expenses related to online learning. These are the monthly cost of learning management software and all of the costs associated with the team responsible for course creation and achievement analysis. If there are any other costs related to infrastructure adjustments in your organization related to online learning implementation, you should add them to the total investment sum.
Now, we have reached a more complicated task. That is determining the gain/value of online learning implementation. In order to see this clearly, we have divided the gains into those that come from the learners’ and those that come from the organization’s perspective.
Gains from the Learner’s Perspective
- Improved transfer of knowledge and knowledge assimilation. Due to the immersive and engaging nature of highly customized online courses, learners gain more proficiency which leads to increased productivity.
- Online learning offers flexibility to learners so that they can study at their own pace.
- The Tin Can specification allows you to track learning experiences across multiple platforms and records them in one place, even offline, thus offering a far better experience than instructor based learning.
Gains from the Organization’s Perspective
- Organizations don’t have to organize training sessions during work hours, nor pay for traveling and training costs.
- The delivery of course materials is instant and it doesn’t require any printing.
- There is no need to spend money on pricy instructors.
Assessing the ROI of online learning is done by the evaluation of training and development. The best way to approach this subject is to use Donald Kirkpatrick’s four-levels of evaluation expanded by Phillip’s model, which adds ROI assessment into the equation.
Each level of Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model measures and evaluates specific things related to corporate training and it can be easily applied to online learning:
- Reaction: by adding surveys after the learners finish the course, an organization can get valuable feedback on how useful the material offered through the course was.
- Learning: learning management software makes the scoring and assessment process of the learning journey very easy. At any point in time, organizations can see scores related to individuals and whole departments.
- Behavioural changes: Are there any improvements in efficiency after the employees have finished the online course. Compare the before and after values.
- Business impact: At this level, organizations should compare the before and after values of productivity, quality, number of errors, etc.
- ROI: In the end, we convert all the gains into monetary value and compare this to the sum the organization invested.
Hopefully, this information will help you understand how to measure the ROI of online training. As you can see, online corporate training affects several layers of a business organization. Using the extensive ROI methodology model is a must, as only a wide approach can help organizations get more accurate numbers when determining the ROI of the online training.
This article was written by Kamy Anderson.