Boosting the ROI of online learning

7 tips to increase the effect of your training course. Bound to be successful!

1. It is essential to have an integrated approach

A good start is half the battle. Make the ROI of your training course part of your company’s overall learning strategy. Analyse the needs and requirements of your organisation and your target audience, determine the learning goals and explain how they contribute to the goals of your organisation. Decide on a format (which learning solution is suitable?) and decide how you will measure and evaluate the effect of learning – and adjust if necessary.

2. Take into account other factors influencing the ROI of learning

The effect of a training course is hardly ever only down to the learning solution itself. Many other factors often play a role too. Timing, for example. Don’t let a learning solution coincide with other initiatives and don’t plan it just before the holidays.

Your internal communication strategy is another important factor. Involve managers and let them contribute when it comes to follow-up. The learning process will often move on from training to new behaviour. It’s important that employees are encouraged and supported in the workplace to permanently change their behaviour. New habits need to be reinforced.

3. Make sure there’s impact

What we often see is that directors and Learning & Development departments (L&D) of a company don’t have the same goal when it comes to learning. Directors would like L&D to contribute to concrete business goals. While L&D departments are more interested in finding out whether the employees are happy about the learning solution wanting to measure learner satisfaction.

The goal that directors want to achieve – higher productivity, more sales, better quality, fewer accidents, etc – is what Jack Philips calls ‘impact’. Impact does not need to be visible immediately, but it should be so in the foreseeable future.

Learner satisfaction (how did the course participants rate the course, how does the course contribute to their personal goals?) is less relevant in the eyes of directors. So it’s important to combine the data of L&D and the needs and requirements of directors. This way you can kill two birds with one stone. What’s more, you can show what the effect of the learning intervention is.

4. Encourage informal learning

Make sure that managers understand that informal learning plays a crucial role in creating high-performance organisations. Informal learning can’t be managed but it can be encouraged. You can’t emphasise this strongly enough within your own company. To use the words of Charles Jennings: “You can lead your horse to the water, but you cannot manage him to drink.” If informal learning is to be successful, then the organization must encourage it in teams and within groups. Because very often, improving company performance is not down to one individual but down to an entire team of colleagues working together.

5. Link learning goals to company goals

Let staff learn things that are vital to the company. Link learning goals to company goals. You’ll see that your business will benefit. It’s important that you don’t use the training course as a starting point to decide which KPIs should be improved. In stead, you need to decide from a company-wide perspective which results you would like to achieve. Achieving these goals requires a certain change in behaviour. To make this change happen you – after carefully investigating the company’s needs – can use various tools and techniques, possibly including a learning intervention. The effect of these combined tools and techniques needs to be measured and evaluated in an integrated way. If necessary, you can make adjustments. See tip 1 above about ‘Integrated Approach’.

6. Measure, evaluate and make adjustments if necessary

Organise a pilot scheme and collect feedback about the course content, the total time commitment it requires, and how accessible the training course is. The things that staff are learning, do they actually contribute to achieving the company’s goals?

A company is dynamic, so developing a training course and deciding on metrics and KPIs is also subject to change. Make sure you are flexible and continue to reflect. Are you on the right track? Or do you need to make adjustments? Be aware of the fact that learning continues after the training course. Continue to encourage, support and measure learning. After all, learning doesn’t suddenly stop; it’s a lifelong process.

7. Think before you start

Make sure that your organisation and strategy are ready before introducing a learning intervention. Determine what your KPIs are and be highly critical. The learning solution itself is not the goal, no matter how much time it takes to develop it and implement this solution. First and foremost it is about the effect. The online platform is a tool to achieve this effect. Please make sure you carefully consider the following questions: can internal systems cope with this, what else is needed to achieve these learning goals, how can you explain the goal to your staff and what do you expect of them? All these matters are important when it comes to being able to achieve the desired effect and best possible ROI.

Do you need any help?

At TinQwise, we do so much more than developing learning solutions. We also support you in developing a learning strategy for your company. And in achieving the best ROI of learning. And we advise you on implementing the technology and how best to communicate with your learners. We don’t only employ education experts, but also ICT developers, creative professionals and experienced marketing and communication staff.