When an enterprise invests its capital into something, they expect a certain return on their investment. Employee training is a critical area where enterprises invest their money into. Because a well-trained workforce will help generate more revenue. And therefore, when digitization was the need of the hour, enterprises invested into digital training or eLearning, which proved quite beneficial compared to the old training approach. This is where measuring and optimize elearning roi comes into the picture.

eLearning demanded digital devices, content delivery platforms, online content creation platforms, learning management systems and so on. And in exchange for these one-time investments, enterprises need recurring benefits. To accurately determine these benefits, it is essential to calculate the eLearning ROI and then take steps to optimize the ROI.

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How to calculate eLearning ROI

The traditional method of calculating the return on investment was to divide the benefit or return on actual investment by the cost incurred. Similarly, to calculate the eLearning ROI, financial gains can be considered as the benefits achieved from the training program and divide it by the actual amount spent on the program.

The cost of an eLearning program includes the cost of course development, cost of learning management system, administrative cost of managing the initiative, as well as infrastructure costs. All these are to be considered while calculating the ROI.

Calculation of ROI in a methodological manner can be rationalized with the use of Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation by adding the fifth level as Return on Investment. Given below is the framework for training evaluation as per the Kirkpatrick model.

  • Level 1: Reaction – This factor can be measured by taking feedback from the learners.

  • Level 2: Learning – At this stage you gauge the knowledge and skills gained from the learning program. This aspect can be measured with the help of tests and assessments.

  • Level 3: Behavioral Changes – Organizations need to utilize a blend of strategies to survey the amount of recently procured learning that is being applied at work.

  • Level 4: Results – Here the organizations measure whether the course helped improve business results.

Here are some useful tips for organizations to optimize their eLearning ROI:

1. Perform Training Needs Analysis to Identify Knowledge Gaps

In order to improve your training and elearning ROI, you first need to analyze and identify the training needs of your employees. By conducting a training needs analysis, you can identify the knowledge gaps in the current training plan.

If your employees require training on how to operate software A, but you create a module to train them on software B, assuming that this will benefit them more, it will only increase the already existing knowledge gap.

By developing training modules that employees really require, you can increase their knowledge and efficiency, thereby improving productivity and training ROI.

2. Design and Deliver a Responsive Mobile-first eLearning Module

A mobile-first workforce requires mobile-first training. Therefore, the L&D teams must design or approach a vendor to design a mobile-first eLearning module. This enables the employees to have continuous access to the training materials.

Just-in-time information is something that drives today’s business environment. Information at the fingertips- that’s what we need. And this can be made possible by creating a mobile-first learning module that can be accessed anytime and anywhere, aiding business decisions, and thereby contributing to the return on training investment.

3. Gamify the eLearning Module to Increase Engagement

As per the Kirkpatrick model, elearning ROI is also measured on the basis of the skills and knowledge acquired from the training program. Therefore, any initiative taken towards improving employee engagement and knowledge retention will help increase the training ROI.

Gamification has been used quite often in the last few years to boost motivation among employees and improve engagement at the workplace. By gamifying the learning module, you provide employees with the opportunity to view their progress and outperform themselves at every level. This method proves quite useful in increasing productivity through healthy competition. And more productivity equates to more revenue.

Related: Gamification in the Workplace: Design, Development, And Implementation

4. Use Simulations and Videos to Increase Retention

Every investment you make to improve the employee training program is a step towards increasing the training ROI. Simulations are quite immersive and helps the employees to do and learn. Whereas video-based content has been proved quite effective in helping learners to retain the information.

Both these methods will help employees to remember the things that they learn and apply it when required. The need for new methods in employee training stems from the need to help employees become self-sufficient in making critical decisions and resolving issues without affecting productivity. This leads to high quality output, eventually proving that investing in this training program was a good idea. Here’s more on 9 ways to create highly effective learning videos.

5. Track and Monitor the Progress of the Employee

Continuous tracking of the learning progress enables you to analyze the effectiveness of the training. Assessments are one way to view the learning outcomes. But monitoring their progress over a period of one or two months will help you understand if there has been an improvement in the employee’s productivity and efficiency.

You can set targets and compare the employee’s ability to meet that target before and after completing the training program. By doing this, you can measure the training effectiveness and devise strategies to enhance the training program.


Calculating the training and elearning ROI is essential to determine the effectiveness of a training program. Based on the results, the learning and development teams can then take appropriate measures to improve engagement and retention value.

And in order to optimize training ROI, enterprises will have to focus on creating training content that meets the learning requirements of the employees and at the same time maintains the interest level of the learners.


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