‘The study’s major significance lies in demonstrating that online learning today is not just better than nothing — it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction.’ (Barbara Means, International Department of Education Report)
eLearning has evolved into a remarkably efficient and sophisticated form of training delivery. Yet it’s often difficult to quantify this benefit in monetary terms. For those struggling to formalise their ROI calculations, Donald Kirkpatrick may be able to help. Since its first appearance in 1976, Kirkpatrick’s training evaluation process has grown substantially in stature. He holds that the evaluation process is divided into four levels: Reaction, Learning, Behavioural impact and Results. Analysing all four levels can help you apply a monetary value to the efficiency of your training campaign and deduce your Return on investment (ROI).
Reaction refers to the response from those who took the eLearning. Was the learning experience a positive one? Are they awaiting their next online learning session with baited breath? Have any issues or concerns risen to the surface? Was the programme as a whole embraced? Analysis of this feedback can tell you the levels of eLearning acceptance amongst a workforce, or whether they thought the content was relevant to their job. It cannot tell you, however, whether the training actually worked.
The Learning level of evaluation is relatively self-explanatory. By comparing the pre– and post-test assessments, you should be able to see a clear positive development path throughout your workforce. This can also help you to determine whether they have picked up the knowledge or skills that the training was supposed to communicate. There are obvious limitations here. You are offered only a snapshot of the current developmental state of the workforce. There’s no way of knowing whether the training has inspired users to continue their progression on the job or whether the learning process will trail off once training is complete.
That is why it is important to monitor Behavioural change following training. In most cases once the learner is released back into their work environment, the evaluation is complete. If you want to determine a training régime’s ROI accurately, it is important that precise behavioural data is supplied and then qualified in monetary terms.
Has your workforce adopted a new skillset and are they utilising it at the right moments? Are they responding to scenarios and situations in the manner the training suggested? This kind of data can be collated through observation, interview and follow-up assessments. It is then up to you to boil this data down into monetary terms that can be fed into the ROI calculation.
Finally we reach the Results strand of the evaluatory process. This seeks to establish the level of improvement that training has engendered throughout the organisation. Did the training resolve in organisational growth?
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