Training programs that deliver performance are in high demand. Training programs that are able to deliver the performance promise in the eLearning environment are in a higher demand than ever. Research and development within training centers is constantly evolving to match the learning preferences of the overwhelmed digital learner. How can an online training program deliver the desired ROI (return on investment). 

Without a proven track record for bringing in the promised business revenues, the customer loyalty and the value propositions, a training provider can close their shop. Companies in the current times are spoilt for eLearning course choices. Companies no longer seek courses that re-invent the wheel, insult trainee intelligence or train “good-to-know-skills”. Companies need eLearning programs that foster “must-know-skills-to perform” in the trainees. In short, the hunt is on for eLearning programs that offer successfully KPI’s and ROI’s. In this article, we take a look at the most common tool used to measure eLearning success.

When training programs have been completed and assessment scores demonstrate an average 85% achievement, managers expect to see the performance figures rise too. Managers have the responsibility to execute their SMART goals. The “M” in their smart goals are supposed to be measureable. Their goals are intimately aligned with the company strategic goals. Not delivering those goals in a given fiscal year can put their jobs on the line. As a result, an eLearning program with all the bells and whistles created with a top notch authoring tool holds no value if it cannot help measure those goals.

When selecting an eLearning instructional designer and development team, the foremost question that is asked is “what have your employee performance levels reports been like?” This implies to the well-known fact that online training programs, published at an LMS have multiple learning analytics to report. The question being indirectly asked is: “are you using learner analytics to improve your eLearning training programs. If yes, how are you using them? What parameters are helping you improve your courses? Can you show us some screen shots of these analytics?” This may sound pretty heavy for a layman-manager, but believe us, the current digital times have revolutionized the consumer perspective.

Learner analytics is now taking center-stage when evaluating and selecting the right eLearning training provider. Learner analytics data are not easy to calculate. They can be expensive and sometimes even border on user-privacy. But learner analytics measure many specifics ranging from learner satisfaction on the eLearning training interface, to the use of frustrated language by learners when interacting with peers or eLearning course facilitator. Perhaps the single most important factor measured by learner analytics is the degree of engagement demonstrated by the learner when logged into the eLearning program. The post-course survey also has a wealth of information that can help deduce and predict the success factors associated with a training provider. Be warned, aesthetics and graphics can no longer impress your clients. Only the right numbers from learner analytics will. Make sure to save good screen-shots to impress your clients.

Many times, the assessment scores of a particular eLearning training program will not transfer into an equal performance score. Sometimes, trainees scoring poorly at the eLearning summative assessment will perform very well in the work context. How do managers measure this performance success and report to their senior managers? How do they prove they have indeed achieved one of their strategic SMART goals? Simple. They utilize the time-tested Kirkpatrick’s Model for post-training evaluation. Here is how the model is adopted by managers measuring the success of an eLearning training program:

Kirkpatrick’s model is comprised of four levels. Remember, this model can easily be integrated into the learner analytics feature of a learning management system.

Level 1: This level measures the reaction of the trainees by recording their feedback. Reaction is measured by taking feedback from learners. Using surveys at this stage is also favorable in retrieving the reactions of the learners.

Level 2: Learning achievement is measured with the aid of formative and summative assessment scores. Pairing assessment items with objectives is the key to achieving learning AND performance achievement.

Level 3: At the third level, behavior changes are assessed. Managers use observation check lists and company-specific evaluation tools to measure behavior changes.

Level 4: The following cues help measure business impact: productivity gain, impact on quality measures, getting higher number of customer subscriptions, selling more units etc.

Level 5: ROI is then calculated by converting the business impact gains (as shown in level 4) to a monetary value.

If you haven’t been working on learner analytics at your learning management system, now is the time to diversify its features. Remember, the more you know about the learner’s attitudes towards your training program, the better you will be able to modify their behavior during the training. Also, the more you analyze the learner with the aid of learner analytics, the more learner-centered material you will be able to create. If some areas are not covered by learner analytics, create meaningful and insightful pre and post course surveys to get hold of any missing information. Improving the eLearning experience in iterations is the only way to improve your eLearning ROI.

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