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10 Steps to Capture Learning ROI
Many modern learning programs must show a return on investment to senior leaders or risk being eliminated. Here are 10 tips that provide a basis for measuring ROI.
Learning programs unable to prove their worth are unlikely to survive in today’s complex business environment. Learning is almost always funded on the expectation that its benefits will outweigh its costs, which makes it ever more vital that return on investment (ROI) be measured.
In the past, those holding the purse strings were often willing to take a leap of faith on learning. But faith is in short supply these days due to an anemic economic recovery, which has led to tightened budgets for all corporate departments, learning included.
Here are 10 helpful tips for incorporating measuring ROI into a learning program.
1. Don’t go overboard. Calculating true ROI for learning can be difficult; learning isn’t always easily quantifiable. Showing ROI does not need to be perfect — it simply needs to provide a reasonable and credible indication of value. If it is too difficult and costly to calculate, it’s probably not the right approach.
2. Shift thinking from a quality mindset to an impact and results mindset. ROI is more than a calculation. It’s a way of thinking. Learning professionals must be aware that a conscious effort to focus on the impact of learning — not just the quality of training — is a critical step.
3. Calculate ROI continuously. Calculating ROI once every couple of years is certainly better than not calculating at it all, but a snapshot approach does not allow for real-time changes to the program. It’s also not always helpful to calculate ROI after the fact — the program may be in the red with little to no room for prevention. Build ROI into the course evaluation process to provide continuous feedback and allow for mid-program changes.
4. Build the case for ROI step-by-step. Producing a single ROI number addresses the question, “How much value?” However, that alone does not provide a credible indication of actual business value. It’s key to demonstrate exactly how and where the learning brings value to the business by calculating data such as percentage of learners who reported that they impacted the business result and total percentage improvement on business result since training.
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