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Free resource: learning spend analysis template

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 Jessica Adair of Eden Tree provides the community with another great free resource. Read on for more...

To ensure a worthwhile return on investment, it’s essential that an organisation’s learning and development budget is spent appropriately. Learning spend analysis is a technique that allows you to perform a retrospective audit of an organisation’s spend, while also assessing if the implemented learning activities supported organisational priorities.

When to conduct a learning spend analysis

The technique, and the results it generates, can be helpful in a number of contexts, including:

  • When you are creating a new learning and development strategy.
  • When you are preparing for a new financial year.
  • When you are new to a senior learning and development position.
  • If there have been, or there are about to be, major changes in the organisation, such as a restructure or a reduction in budget.
  • If this type of evaluation has not been conducted before.

Information required

In order to complete the learning spend analysis technique, you will need to source specific information. This information should be available from records kept by:

  • You or your immediate colleagues.
  • Learning management or course booking systems (if applicable).
  • Team/department managers.
  • Your organisation’s finance department.
  • External training providers who delivered training to your organisation.

If exact data is not immediately available, estimates can be used in the interim. These can be calculated by canvassing information from the individuals outlined above, determining averages, and using these to complete the learning spend analysis template.

If the correct data becomes available at a later date, consider conducting the spend analysis again to deliver the most accurate results possible. 

Completing the learning spend analysis template

Read through the instructions below, and then download and review the worked example below before you start.

Download the blank learning spend analysis template below and complete the relevant sections as you work through the following steps:

  1. Determine the financial year you are required to analyse.
  2. Identify the total learning and development budget spent by the organisation for that financial year. This information will allow you to calculate the percentage of total budget invested in each learning category at the final stage of the process. You should enter this information into the allocated section at the top of the blank learning spend analysis template.
  3. Identify the learning categories in which the organisation invested either financial spend or delegate days during the relevant financial year. Enter this information in the 'learning categories' section of the learning spend analysis template.
  4. Identify what the priorities of the organisation were during the relevant financial year. Organisational priorities express the measures of performance that are most relevant and important to the organisation.
  5. Rank each learning category in terms of its importance to the organisation’s priorities for that year. The most important learning category should be ranked as 1. Enter this information into the 'ranked importance' section of the blank learning spend analysis template.
  6. Establish the total number of delegate days used by the organisation in that financial year across all learning categories. A delegate day is defined as one person attending one day of learning (e.g. 10 employees attending a two-day learning event would equate to 20 delegate days). Enter this information in the allocated section at the top of the blank learning spend analysis template. Next, calculate the percentage of the total delegate days spent in each learning category by using the following formula: (Delegate days spent per learning category/total number of delegate days) x 100. Enter the results of this calculation in the '% of total delegate days spent' section of the blank learning spend analysis template.
  7. Establish the amount of financial spend that was invested in each learning category in the financial year you are analysing. Enter this information into the 'financial spend per learning category' section of the blank learning spend analysis template. Next, calculate the percentage of the total learning and development budget spent in each learning category by using the following formula: (Financial spend per learning category/total learning and development budget) x 100. Enter the results of this calculation in the '% of L&D budget spend' section of the blank learning spend analysis template.

Interpreting the results

Once you have completed the template, you can start interpreting the results. Consider a range of questions concerning the organisation’s learning spend. For example:

  • In which learning category do we spend most of our budget? Is this appropriate in terms of the category’s importance to our organisational priorities?
  • In which learning category do we spend the least of our budget? Is this appropriate in terms of organisational priorities?
  • Are the delegate days spent across each learning category appropriate in terms of organisational priorities?
  • Should less of our budget be spent in one learning category to allow more to be spent in another which better supports organisational priorities?

 
This template has been dapted from The Learning Sanctuary’s Alignment of Investment and Spend  (2 June 2010).
 

 

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