Evaluating ELearning ROI with Kirkpatrick

Most business make decisions based on how it will impact their bottom-line.

Specifically they will want to know if what they decide to pursue will increase revenue or decrease expenses thus resulting in a net positive return on investment.

Businesses that do this well stay in business. Plain and simple.

With this in mind you can see how it may be difficult for some organizations to pursue an elearning program. Since its beginning elearning has suffered from perception that ROI can’t be accurately measured.

Unfortunately this is a stereotype our industry still continues to battle. Though were making strides in this area it still is something that comes up from time-to-time.

So how do you record ROI in elearning and training events?

The most obvious is that you need to be measuring a pre-defined ROI indicator (such as a change in employee behavior that is directly tied to increasing or decreasing revenue).

Using The Kirkpatrick Model

One of the more well known ways to measure elearning and training initiatives is with the Kirkpatrick evaluation model.

You can see in the diagram above (created by EIDesign) a general overview of what this model entails and at which stage it is tied to an organization’s ROI.

The point here is that Kirkpatrick emphasizes five different evaluation methods. The most common in elearning today are Levels 1 and 2, but as you can see that does not yet touch upon ROI.

This is why business leaders get frustrated with the idea of elearning.

Instructional designers need to put in the extra work to find ways to capture the additional evaluation levels for their programs as that is how organizations can determine the real impact of their online training programs.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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