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Monday, January 25, 2010

An Alternative Way to Assess the ROI of e-Learning in Training

As the title suggests, Patrick Lambe explains in this article ways that e-learning professionals might assess the return on investment of their programs.

In Part I of this article, Lambe provided a brief background on the economics of e-learning.
In Part II, he looks at some of the most common ways that organizations deploy e-learning to support their strategic objectives, and shows how measurement of viability and impact can be approached within those situations.

An Alternative Way to Assess the ROI of e-Learning in Training: Part I
By Patrick Lambe, Straits Knowledge, Singapore

One of the ongoing admonitions e-learning specialists face is the need to "prove" the return on investment (ROI) for each program they initiate.
But most e-learning programs are funded from ongoing training budgets, which are recurrent (that is, budgeted annually to cover the cost of a year's worth of training, rather than individual projects) and are accounted as operations or infrastructure costs.
Because much training is not budgeted at the project level, discussions about ROI have traditionally had little relevance. It would be like seeking the ROI on groceries in a personal budget or of stationery supplies in a business. Both are simply costs of doing business.
How, then, might one assess the return on an e-learning program?

An Alternative Way to Assess the ROI of e-Learning in Training: Part II
By Patrick Lambe, Straits Knowledge, Singapore

Measuring the Viability and Impact of e-Learning
How might one assess the ROI of an e-learning infrastructure that support a variety of different business objectives?
Here, in Part II of this article, I consider how to assess ROI for e-learning with these six major business objectives in mind:

1. improving productivity
2. improving quality
3. leveraging human capital
4. reducing risk
5. remaining in the marketplace
6. accessing new markets.

In each section, I describe examples of e-learning, measurement questions to consider, and stakeholders who might be interested in these results.

About the Author

Patrick Lambe is a widely respected knowledge management consultant based in Singapore.
His Master's degree from University College London is in Information Studies and Librarianship, and he has worked as a professional librarian, as a trainer and instructional designer, and as a business manager in operational and strategic roles. He has been active in the field of knowledge management and e-learning since 1998, and in 2002 founded his own consulting and research firm, Straits Knowledge, with a partner. He is former President of the Information and Knowledge Society, and is Adjunct Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Patrick speaks and writes internationally on knowledgemanagement.
Patrick has published several books on the subject, including Organising Knowledge: Taxonomies, Knowledge and Organizational Effectiveness and The Blind Tour Guide: Surviving and Prospering in the New Economy.