Magazine article Talent Development

Conduct Learning Evaluations That Make a Difference: Study Finds That Few Organizations Measure the Business Results and ROI of Learning Programs

Magazine article Talent Development

Conduct Learning Evaluations That Make a Difference: Study Finds That Few Organizations Measure the Business Results and ROI of Learning Programs

Article excerpt

The average organization spends nearly 8 percent of its profit, or 4 percent of total payroll, on direct learning expenditure, according to the Association for Talent Development's (ATD) 2015 State of the Industry report. Although organizations are aware that they should evaluate the business impact of this sizable investment, the typical organization continues to struggle mightily to initiate meaningful evaluation efforts that help inform improvements in individual and overall business performance.

A new ATD research report, Evaluating Learning: Getting to Measurements That Matter, finds that 44 percent of the 199 participants surveyed claimed their employer's evaluation efforts are helping greatly with reaching organizational learning goals. A smaller percentage, 36 percent, felt these efforts are helping to a large extent with reaching business goals.

These findings are not surprising given that just 35 percent of organizations measure the business results of any learning programs (for example, by looking at growth in profitability, output, or customer satisfaction resulting from a program), and only 15 percent measure return on investment. Organizations that measure business outcomes (Kirkpatrick's Level 4) and ROI (Phillips's Level 5) see elevated learning and business effectiveness, compared with organizations that don't evaluate at all and those that only use evaluation metrics such as "smile sheets" (Level 1), knowledge tests (Level 2), and even follow-up skills assessments (Level 3). …

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