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Four ways to measure the effectiveness of e-Learning programs

e-Learning is a 100 billion dollar industry and it’s rising in popularity. There are still blurry details though. Such as how to measure the effectiveness of the e-Learning programs.

Despite being popular, e-Learning is still relatively unknown within company managements. There are some misconceptions about this type of trainings. One of them is that they can’t be calculated with a simple ROI formula.

If you do that with e-Learning, though, you may not get any sensible results. After all learning is not something that can be measured. Yes, there are tests at the end of the training, but they only show a part of the whole picture. After all we all remember the school years and it is easy to memorize something for as long as a test is done. What really matters is what actual knowledge has been remembered and whether it has actually helped the employees in their work and honed their skills.

Also some employees might remember only certain parts from the training and actually use them, while other employees will find interest in a different set of lessons from the same training. e-Learning analyst and corporate training pro Roz Bahrami has developed a “Four R Program” which helps get a more realistic sense of whether an e-Learning training has been successful or not.

First comes the Response. What was the response from the employees about the training? Did they sign-up voluntarily? How many of them completed the program? Were they actively working on it or did it just because they had to? This will give you a good idea of how the training was perceived by the employees.

Next is the Review. This one is obvious. What skills did the employees learn? Did they completed the training with good marks? How many of them scored above the average? After a while, are the new skills learned actually being used? Have they improved the overall results and position of the company?

Then comes the Revision. You will need the feedback of the employees for this. How do they felt about the training? Are they satisfied? Did they feel they developed new skills and improved their knowledge? Are they interested in more trainings? What they didn’t like about the program and what they think can be improved? Did they find weaknesses in their skillset they would like to address? It’s important to show employees having weaknesses will not result in repercussions for them, but instead you actually want to help them improve.

Finally, the Results. Now you can finally measure something. For example do you see a bump in the statistics and KPIs? Has the performance improved? Then review these results against the data before the training was held. Are there correlations between certain results or performances? Would have there been improvements if no training was held? Finally, see the long term costs of no trainings versus the short-term cost bumps with trainings but with improved results. You should really consider all details before making the decision. It would take time and it’s not easy, but it can be worth it.

Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Rachel Johnson