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ROI and eLearning: How to Get More Bang for Your Buck

You recognize the value of eLearning for your company’s employees, but how do you justify the benefits to your boss? Sure, you could talk about your engaged learners, their improved retention, or even the convenience of eLearning.  However, at the end of the day, your boss really wants to know what is the return on investment (ROI)? So How do you measure the ROI of your eLearning program? And more importantly, how do you maximize it? Read on to find out.

Measuring the ROI of eLearning by Cost Benefit

The mark of any successful training program is that you are getting more out of it than you are putting into it. Watching your team grow and prosper isn’t enough – you need data to back up your observations.

One way to measure your Company’s ROI is through cost-benefit. Considerations include:

  • Travel costs associated with training.
  • Fees for trainers.
  • Amount of time employees are in training and not working.
  • The amount of time your HR or L&D department currently spends on creating and implementing training.

How much could you save by implementing an eLearning program?

Let’s use some sample data[1] based on the average costs of training to determine what your savings could be. In this scenario, a company is conducting a 1-day training for 200 employees. It will be in-house with 20 employees attending at one time – with a total of 10 training sessions.

Description Traditional Learning eLearning
Trainee costs $40,000 $20,000
Trainer costs $3,000 $0
Development of the Course $1,500 $3,000
Equipment $400 0
TOTAL $44,900 $23,000

Many industry experts agree that eLearning is significantly less than the cost of traditional learning.[2][3]

In this example, you can see that the company would save nearly 50 percent with an eLearning course. The savings could be even more if the company needed to rent a venue or pay employee travel expenses.

NOTE: If you want to establish a truly accurate estimate, we suggest asking your accounting team for this type of data for a similar traditional training that you may have had in the past.

Description # of Employees Traditional Learning eLearning
Flight at $250/person 150 $37,500 $0
Hotel at $200/2-night stay 150 $30,000 $0
Meals at $50/day 150 $15,000 $0
TOTAL   $82,500 $0

As you can see, the travel costs for these 150 employees totals $82,500.  All of these travel expenses could be eliminated through an eLearning course.

Measuring the ROI of eLearning by the Learner’s Experience

Granted, the cost-benefit data is important – especially when justifying the use of eLearning to your Company’s decision makers. However, in addition to saving money on training your team, you also want to ensure that your eLearning program engages your learners and they retain the information they’ve learned.

So, how do you measure these? Three ways to do this are by using feedback, assessments, and the business impact of the training.

  1. Feedback –Upon course completion, add an optional survey, including a rating system to quickly allow you to determine areas for improvement.
  2. Assessments –Assessments are a wonderful way to break up a course into chunks with quizzes at the end of each section to track their progress. You can also have a final assessment at the end of the program.
  3. Business Impact – After learners have completed the training and are back on the job, you can measure the impact of the training on their productivity. For example, 2-3 weeks later, give your employees a survey asking them if they felt like they had used the information they learned since completing the course.

How You Can Maximize the ROI on your eLearning Program

Now that we’ve reviewed how to measure the ROI of your eLearning program, how can you get the most out of it? Let’s look at a few best practices:

  • Align the coursework with very specific and measurable goals – This will allow you to accurately measure the impact of your program after its completion.
  • Provide a social learning platform – Research shows that 20 percent of learning is developed through relationships, networks, and feedback.[4] (And only 10 percent is through formal learning.) Adding a social learning platform could foster more collaboration and retention amongst learners.
  • Ask for feedback – Not only can feedback be used to measure ROI, it can also help you to improve future training courses. Encourage open, honest feedback from the learners and use it when you develop your next course.

Often when companies begin to explore the benefits of eLearning, it can seem like an added cost.  However, in actuality these cost-savings result in a positive impact on your company’s bottom-line. Now that you know how to accurately measure the ROI of eLearning, you have the confidence to promote your vision during that next big budget meeting or program presentation.







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