L&D leaders in most companies dread the idea of measuring the impact of their eLearning programs. Such an effort is often believed to be demanding and complex, something which is carried out only in the largest of organizations. What people fail to realise is that measuring the impact of an eLearning program is often the first step towards optimizing their learning ecosystem.
Measuring the impact an eLearning program has on your teams is undoubtedly difficult. Employees’ performance in the training modules, their feedback, content development costs, etc are just some of the metrics used to assess the impact. There are other factors too which make this task quite complex and messy.
But, organizations both small and large can come to grips with measuring impact simply by sticking to some key principles.
Ask yourself these questions. They will act as a model to help you understand your reasons for this exercise as well as carry it out in an optimal manner.
Why do you want to measure impact?
How will you do it?
What key metrics will you consider?
What will you do once you have successfully measured it?
What changes are you willing to make based on your observations?
#1 Considering Impact Assessment
Managers have various reasons for measuring impact such as calculation of ROI, supervisory pressure, dissatisfaction of their current Learning Management System, etc.
If you want to measure impact to introduce a possible change in the current eLearning program or the tools(LMSes) being used, make sure your approach will give you what you need. For eg: If you have a customer facing team in your organization, try measuring their engagement levels with your eLearning modules. It may be possible that they display alarmingly low engagement levels due to a hectic work schedule. Fix this by tailoring your eLearning program by incorporating mobile learning. Allowing your customer facing team to learn during their work hours.
If you are responsible for communicating your observations to supervisors, figure out exactly the deliverables which will help you get your report noticed. For eg: Your founding members will be more interested in a cost vs benefit analysis of your program rather than the performance levels of employees in particular training modules.
#2 Carrying it out
There are a number of approaches to assessing the effectiveness of your program, we have listed down a few key techniques:
Conduct Skill Assessments
Creating snapshots, or skylines, of an employee’s performance can give a clear picture of improvements you can directly tie to training. Perform a visual assessment of your employees’ skillsets before and after deploying a training program.
For eg: Check a sales person’s current ability in sales before training. Re-check his/her ability after he has completed the assigned eLearnings to see the delta.
Set Learning Targets
Smart eLearning programs always begin with setting learning targets that tie back to the overall organization’s goals. By asking, “What outcome do I want as a result of this learning program?” you will isolate the program’s learning goals and identify the potential results.
For eg: Look out for higher customer satisfaction ratings, increase in sales, higher productivity, and increase in employee engagement. Achievement of such targets clearly indicates the success of your eLearning program.
Use Simulations and Scenarios
If you are unwilling to measure the effectiveness of your eLearning modules on-the-job, use scenario-based tests that will allow employees to demonstrate what they learned.
This will enable you to judge the effectiveness of your eLearning training program without compromising your level of customer service, sales volume, client relationships etc.
Administer Assessments and Quizzes
Administering assessments and quizzes enables you to determine how effective your eLearning strategy really is in terms of knowledge retention among learners. Assess your employees’ skillsets twice, before the online training and at the end of it. Doing this will allow you to check if your training had an effect on their skillset.
Gain Insights from Learning Analytics
Most learning management systems provide analytics which give insight into the progress levels of employees. Leverage info such as the speed at which your employees are progressing through modules, the number of times they logged in, the average score and completion rate in any module etc. to gauge the effectiveness of your eLearning program. Moreover, you can tailor the program to suit your employees and their engagement levels.
For eg: If you find that most of your employees are progressing through a module relatively quickly, consider increasing the overall difficulty.
#3 Learning from it
It’s important to learn from your results once you start measuring the impact of your training program. Develop a plan to document the results. Analyse employee feedback thoroughly and be prepared for negative feedback as well. If some employees had a negative experience with your program, use it as an opportunity to learn their pain-points and improve the program.
#4 Making changes
Change is difficult, but don’t be afraid to tailor your eLearning program to the needs of your teams. For eg: Low engagement levels are usually due to stretched out training modules that never seem to end. If you want to increase engagement, try breaking down your eLearning modules into bite-sized chunks. Moreover, let your teams know how long an eLearning course will take to complete. Set up expectations up front so that your employees can plan their schedule accordingly.
At the heart of most measurement agendas is something very basic — conversing with people to know the changes you can make to help them. You can’t go wrong if you focus on this one aspect.
What did you do to measure the impact your eLearning courses? What has been a successful improvement you made, and how did it improve your eLearning training program? Share your thoughts in the comments below and give us a follow if you liked this article!