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ROI: traditional vs online learning

21 Aug 2020 | Lesson Desk Team2 min read

Today, companies across the globe are using online learning as a fundamental part of their training initiatives. Although the benefits of online learning are clear, companies are seeking ways to determine the impact it has on the organisation itself, in comparison to traditional learning, and how to potentially generate even greater value through its implementation in employee training.

Return on Investment, or ROI, is a performance measure that can be used to determine what kind of training impacts the company in the most positive way. ROI can be measured by looking at two factors: the investment made, which is the cost incurred to create and deliver a training programme; and the return of that investment, which is the value gained for both the employees and the company upon completing the training. Let's start by looking at the cost of the project in traditional learning versus online learning, or the 'I' in ROI.

A recent study has indicated that with the implementation of an online learning strategy, various other training costs are mitigated in comparison to traditional learning. Traditional learning costs include facilitator fees; travel allowances; venue rental or -maintenance fees; and printing costs. However, due to online learning's capability of being done remotely, none of these traditional costs are required. From this study alone, it is evident that companies can save a vast amount on their training investments by incorporating online learning to their training programme.

The next step in measuring ROI is to take a look at the value gained, or the 'R' in ROI. Depending on the company, the potential value of creating and presenting online learning can be defined as increased customer satisfaction, improved morale, productivity improvements, increased revenue, decreased costs, a decrease in errors, and/or increased competitive advantage. An additional method in defining value gained can be through the Kirkpatrick Model – a training evaluation created in the 1950s by training specialist, Donald Kirkpatrick.

The model consists of four different levels of value an organisation can gain when evaluating the effectiveness of training.

The first is "Reaction", which can be measured by evaluating how employees felt about the training.

The next level is identified as "Learning" and can be determined by what skills and knowledge employees gained from the training.

The third level is "Behaviour", which can be measured by focusing on how employee behaviour has changed since the completion of training. This can include productivity levels or problem-solving skills.

The final level is "Impact" and can be determined by how an increase in behaviour affects the organisation financially.

An additional method used in online learning that can further benefit ROI for training projects is microlearning. Making use of microlearning on a digital platform can increase knowledge leading to productivity and increased profits. By implementing this method, the time spent on training has been decreased, leaving room to focus on work-related tasks during business hours. However, the return on the investment of online training is not the only reason as to why companies are adopting online learning.

Other benefits include on-demand availability, the self-paced nature of independent training, the consistency of the training message and the ease and convenience of tracking learner progress and managing training.

Using an online learning platform that offers you all of the tools needed to manage your training can have a significant impact on both the company's employees and the company itself. Make the move to online learning today by contacting learn@lessondesk.com or visit www.lessondesk.com for more information.