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A quick guide to ROI from digital learning

Digital learning offers savings and adds benefits.  But how do you calculate its ROI?

What is ROI?

Put simply, it’s the return on your investment once you’ve subtracted the costs.  That sounds straightforward if you can measure your costs and outcomes in pounds or dollars.  That’s not so easy with training where there are intangible benefits that can be hard to calibrate.

A key advantage of digital learning, however, is that it makes your ROI more transparent and easier to calculate.

10 ways digital learning delivers a better ROI

  1. Saves time and resources:

    Digital learning offers continuous learning and avoids costly, often ineffective episodic training events.  Investing in a Learning Management System (LMS) to serve your learning content allows learners to choose what, where and when they learn.  This reduces the need for instructor-led training or off-site courses.  Bringing learning directly into the workflow then reduces admin overheads.  

  2. Encourages re-use:

    Switching to digital learning involves up-front costs whether you create your own or buy in off-the-shelf content.  But once you have the content it can be re-used and accessed any number of times.  It can also be repurposed and chunked as microlearning to meet learner demands.  It’s easy to update and is accessible across devices.  Digitization liberates learning from the classroom and expands the scope and reach of your training programs.

  3. Automates tasks:

    An LMS AI-driven feature that automates routine tasks.  These include notifications and reminders to ensure learners are on track with their learning.  The system can make recommendations for future learning based on learners’ previous choices and preferences.  This level of automation and learner direction frees up time for L&D to work on higher-order tasks that add value.

  4. Personalizes learning:

    LMSs track usage and learner interactions allowing you to move away from a one-size-fits-all, group training approach.  Instead, you can tailor learning based on an individual’s prior training, experience, level of expertise, and development path.  What a learner learns is therefore more relevant and has a greater impact.

  5. Generates engagement:

    Learning is quickly forgotten.  By switching to digital learning, you ensure that training can be accessed anytime, anywhere so knowledge can be quickly refreshed.  Delivering information in a microlearning format means it can be easily searched for and quickly consumed allowing for repeated practice to make learning stick.  Digital content uses a mix of media, especially video, to appeal to modern learning tastes for ‘how-to demonstrations.  Interactivities like quizzes and role play engage the learner’s attention.

  6. Closes skills gaps:

    Digital learning is easy to update allowing you to adapt content to incorporate updates or changes in information quickly.  New content can be created to fill a skills gap and automatically rolled out to learners so there’s no need to organize a series of training sessions.  Content can also be created by learners themselves on their own devices so they can share critical knowledge with their colleagues.

  7. Shares knowledge more effectively:

    Learners can create and share their own learning content quickly and at no cost.  The knowledge that otherwise might have stayed locked in the heads of experienced employees or dissipated in informal one-to-one exchanges is captured and shared across the organization.  Tapping into this expertise promotes best practices and delivers efficiencies.  What’s more, LMSs offer shared spaces that use social media features to facilitate collaboration and social learning.

  8. Gives you granular data:

    Digital learning platforms come with analytics tools that help you build a clearer picture of ROI.  Every interaction in the system is recorded.  You can check learner progress and attainment at an individual or group level.  You can monitor completion and compliance.  The data can be outputted in reports and dashboards which reveal at a glance what’s working and what isn’t.  Analytics helps identify skills gaps that can then be plugged in.

  9. Adapts in real-time:

    A digital learning program is dynamic.  Adjustments can be made in real-time backed by the evidence in data that is continuously updated.  This means L&D can intervene where gaps and issues around performance arise and make changes that keep learners up to date and training on track.

  10. Leaves no one behind:

    Delivering learning from a central repository helps standardize and improve the quality of training.  Giving all employees access to learning no matter where they are working makes training more inclusive and raises standards across the organization.  Better training results in a healthier more productive working environment for all.

Digital learning makes training more efficient, saving costs.  It makes it more effective, engaging, and relevant leading to better performance quicker and changing behaviors to prevent accidents and non-compliance.  And it makes it easier to track, update, and adapt to offer consistent and continuous support.  Its benefits and ROI are plain to see.  

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