Measuring the Impact and Effectiveness of Workplace Learning Programs



The biggest challenge that L&D teams face when preparing for an annual budget forecast for training and development of employees for the upcoming year; is to convince the Finance team how ‘Return on Investment’ (RoI) will be delivered. A primary chunk of the learning budget is allocated in developing new eLearning content. It could either be designed in-house or an external vendor would be contracted to design the eLearning and deploy it on the corporate LMS or LXP.


There is no magic wand to wave or a spell to chant that can give you the perfect values regarding RoI on eLearning and how quickly your learners/employees can progress. Instead, what we can provide is a framework of suggestions and recommendations that can be utilized to analyze learner behavior and performance. This can be used as a metric to assess the improvement in the performance of your employees and you can make a calculated guess when you make budget estimates for the next financial year.


This blog will offer some insights into why it is important to measure the effectiveness of eLearning and how it can help you design and deploy better-quality digital learning for your learners/employees.


Understanding the Real Cost of Poor Training or Lack of Training

This article published on the Teamstage blog gives some interesting stats, as listed below:

  • Ineffective training costs companies $13.5 million per 1000 employees annually

  • 59% of employees say they received no formal training for the role that they are performing at their workplace

  • Companies that invest in training have a 24% higher profit margin

  • Employee retention rate grows by 30–50% at companies with a potent training program

These stats are ample proof regarding why your organization needs to invest in training your employees to do their tasks properly and at a much better pace.


The LinkedIn Workplace Learning Reports over the years have clearly indicated a mutually dependent relationship between attrition rates and poor training and organizations that invest in employee learning and wellness and higher employee retention rates at such organizations. Thus, it is evident that if an organization invests in a proper learning culture and fosters an environment that stresses on helping employees learn new skills or develop their existing skills, such organizations are likely to have highly satisfied and happy employees, who will contribute to the growth of the organization.


Learners at the Center of the Ecosystem or a Case for Human-Centered Design

Academic experts at leading universities and change-management consultants often lament the deep gulf between the actual learning requirement and the final eLearning program developed. This is cited as a reason for the failure of eLearning programs and poor learner engagement. So how does one resolve this? Some things to keep in mind:

  • Have a clear analysis of the target audience

  • Provide clear learning goals and outcomes aligned to those goals

  • Personalize learning if possible or provide pathways that learners can select and proceed

  • Keep the learning content focused and directly relevant to the course

  • Keep your learners at the center of the program and design the program around them. Vendors and L&D experts often fall into the trap of creating a highly generic program that simply reinforces some concepts and does not offer a clear learning outcome. This is a trap that must be avoided at all costs. Our blog on human-centered design offers some interesting insights that will help you design effective eLearning solutions


Modern learning delivery platforms offer a wide variety of tools to measure learner behavior. The next section focuses on how analytics and data can drive key decisions in HR and how L&D teams can use it to improve eLearning content.


Analytics and Translating Data into Actionable Insights

The early learning delivery platforms focused more on support for different content formats and support for different devices. Over the years, the focus on analytics, data, and information on learner behavior gained importance to measure RoI of learning. This has resulted in different learning delivery platforms, be it an LMS, LXP, or a mobile learning app, all proudly flaunting their data-dashboards and synchronization of learner records with ERPs and HRM systems. This is definitely a step in the right direction.


Using the in-built dashboards, the LMS administrator can track learner behavior when they access the LMS to take a course. Data on when a course was started, when it was completed, the number of attempts required to complete all the assessments and game-based tasks within the program, final scores for single-attempt assessments, etc., can go a long way in determining if the learners actually understood the concepts covered in the program or if they just participated in the program because HR or their project manager made the training mandatory.


Measuring the Effectiveness of eLearning

The Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model, which was devised by Donald Kirkpatrick Ph.D., is considered as a reliable model to measure the effectiveness or impact of an eLearning program. The model incorporates four levels or metrics for evaluation. These are:

  • The initial reaction of the learner and their thoughts about the training experience

  • The resulting change or increase in knowledge following the training experience

  • The learner’s behavioural change and application of the new skills on the job

  • The results or effects of the improved performance on the business

The first three levels of evaluation are broad statements that could still work in scenarios and the eLearning program could still be not 100% effective. It is only when the fourth level or parameter is put into action and employees demonstrate improved knowledge of the subject domain and work better and faster, do we really see the impact of the eLearning program. Essentially, the employees should be able to generate better business and profits for the company. Senior management and Finance teams can directly equate the effectiveness of the eLearning program with time and effort that is saved, and the additional revenue that is earned for the company.


This blog published on the Rallyware website offers insights from different industry leaders on how RoI of employee learning can be measured.


In terms of actual software to measure and predict the effectiveness of eLearning, we are yet to see a proper product in the market. Till someone comes up with a fool-proof solution, we would have to rely on good old timesheets, data uploaded on CRM tools, and the all-important profit-loss-and earnings statement to measure the impact of eLearning programs.


S4C – Designing Impactful and Result-Oriented eLearning

At S4Carlisle, we focus on customer success and designing and delivering high-impact, result-oriented eLearning that helps foster learning in your organization. Write to us at sales@s4carlisle.com to learn how we can design an effective digital learning solution for you.