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Measuring the Effectiveness and ROI of Learning Programs

When it comes to building a team with the skills and abilities to get your company out ahead of the competition, learning and development programs are critical. That said, it can be a challenge to quantify their value. For companies with limited L&D resources, showing the value of an investment in professional development and training programs can be a very real challenge.

But here are 3 ways to get started measuring success.


1) Track your spending

One of the biggest challenges when measuring ROI is having a full understanding of your investment. Make sure you have a cohesive strategy as it relates to your learning and development program, and make sure you are tracking your spending. For every training video, event, or even micro-learning opportunities, you need to know how much it’s costing your company. Only once you know your investment can you accurately measure the return.

Also keep in mind that some elements of your strategy may be more cost intensive than others, such as travel and expenses for conference attendance, or off-site training programs. There are so many different ways to build L&D into your business plan, you should never feel your learning opportunities (or those of your employees) are limited. But you should be tracking how much they cost your company.

2 ) Measure success

The challenge when it comes to measuring success is quantifying it to the same level as your costs as they pertain to learning and development programs. Success is often noted happily, but rarely is it measured in terms of actual dollars earned. Think about measuring success by the sales made by employees retained, increases in profits due to skilled work, or other hidden opportunities.  Frankly, demonstrating ROI is much easier in some parts of the business than in others, such as business development compared to HR. The bottom line to measure ROI you need a hard number to compare to your spending. The formula that will help you understand what your actual return is as follows:

ROI = the quantified benefit (return) / the cost (investment)

Test out and compare different measurements until you find one that makes sense for your business and the success you are looking to measure. As ROI is expressed either as a percentage or a ratio, businesses are better able to understand whether they are in the red when it comes to their learning programs. Having a quantifiable measurement of your success gained from the time and effort invested in your employees will help you make a firm argument for that investment in the future.

3) Know your options

Once you have a measurement of the effectiveness of your learning and development programs, you can explore your options. Learn what opportunities are available to try out different programs. L&D is a discipline that is constantly evolving, with interesting advancements in micro-learning, alternative training programs, and crowd-sourced information sharing making big changes to the industry every year. Remember that what works for you (or doesn’t work for you) one year may produce a different level of return in the future. The key is to be flexible, track success, watch your costs, and always be open to learning new lessons yourself.


Are you looking for top L&D professionals to help you build an effective training program?

Our learning effectiveness consultants can assist you with establishing, reporting on, and analyzing valuable learning metrics. Clarity Offers Expertise in Key Learning Effectiveness Areas. Our network of resources and expertise can fill your learning effectiveness needs with high-quality talent at any time. Contact us today connect with our consultants!