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Elearning evaluation tips


EvaluationAs L&D comes under increased pressure to prove its value, Arif Ahmed argues that traditional methods of measuring learning may be grossly out of date. This is Arif's advice on how to evaluate technology-enabled learning.

"...the drive for efficiency is pushing performance analytics up the agenda."

Many organisations continue to measure learning through statistics such as the number of courses completed or against a tick box of key staff competencies – and in some cases these are cross referenced against personal development plans. The bigger challenge for many organisations is 'bridging the personal goals to the broader organisational goals'. Looking at basic metrics means that no one is measuring how learning impacts the organisation's bottom line. Furthermore, as training is distributed throughout an organisation – how do you deal with fragmented data in disconnected databases?

With today's economic climate, organisations will increasingly find that the drive for efficiency is pushing performance analytics up the agenda. I believe that it is possible to evolve current measurement processes within an organisation by simply adding a series of 'value metrics' such as:

  • Has the number of customer queries reduced?

  • Has customer satisfaction improved or declined?

  • Has quality of output from staff improved or declined?

  • Is there an alignment of individual and organisational performance?

  • How quickly are technical queries resolved per person?

  • Is customer and staff retention getting better or poorer?
  • My advice for organisations wishing to explore ways of improving their internal learning measurement systems is as follows:

    1. Focus your efforts: Decide on what metrics you need to do effective business planning. Are you thinking about using more elearning to cut costs? Then think about the metrics that would help you manage this better.

    2. Develop efficiency-based metrics, not delivery-orientated: Look for customer satisfaction, alignment of individual and organisational performance etc., such as revenues per employee, resolved technical queries per person not courses completed and attendance.

    3. Think about how you will measure informal learning: Most learning is informal and not captured. New technologies can assist in making this process simpler.

    4. Test your hypotheses: You must have intuitive ideas about where you can make savings. Use your metrics and measurement programme to explore these in more detail. Do technical queries go down after new training?

    "You only need to collect and measure what is required."

    5. Think about your processes: Does your organisation deliver distributed training? You may need to centralise your training administration activities to get the best metrics.

    6. Think about IT issues: Do you have disparate and ad-hoc pots of data, e.g., in-house databases, spreadsheets, a partially used/rolled out LMS? Then consider using an IT consultancy to link all of these together for more effective management information. It is well worth the investment.

    7. Data fit for purpose and bespoke reporting: You only need to collect and measure what is required. Many think that they need to collect and report on everything, but you need to adopt a pragmatic approach about what is required. Consider asking an IT consultancy to extract bespoke reporting. This will allow greater ROI from your existing systems investments.

    8. Think about how you can harness Web 2.0 technologies: As more learning is by wikis, blogs and podcasts, EPSS (electronic performance support system), UGC (user generated content), etc., consider metrics based on the number of downloads, page views and hits.

    Arif Ahmed is the co-founder and director of ikonami. He has seven years' experience in providing bespoke learning solutions for the private and private sector. ikonami is a technology company that combines its specialised software offerings with a variety of service capabilities, including full learning process outsourcing (LPO)


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