Training Metrics: How to Measure eLearning Effectiveness

Kseniya Ibraeva
8 min readMar 6, 2019

When you conduct training in your company, you expect to increase employee performance and, overall, enhance your business. But how do you know if your training program is effective? Did your employees learn what they were supposed to learn? Did they apply the new knowledge at work? Did they meet a business goal? And finally, was this training worth your company’s investment?

To answer all these questions, you need to assess learning results using training metrics.

Let’s have a look at what training evaluation metrics are, and how you can use them to measure training effectiveness.

What is a Training Metric?

Metrics have become a buzzword in different spheres. They can be generally defined as quantifiable measures used to track and assess the results of a specific process.

In a training context, metrics can be used for evaluating different aspects of learning: for example, you can track test scores, time spent on each activity, and how many attempts each learner required to achieve a passing score. Ultimately, all these training metrics are aimed to assess training effectiveness.

What s Training Effectiveness?

Training effectiveness is a measure of the degree to which learning improves employee performance; for instance, how your team members enhanced their sales and communication skills, increased their productivity, or met a business goal.

Training effectiveness can also be defined as a positive return on financial investment (ROI). This training metric is used at the very end of the evaluation process and compares the financial value of the learning outcomes against the investment that you made.

How to Measure Training Effectiveness?

The most widely used model to evaluate training effectiveness is the Kirkpatrick Model. It was created by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick, past president of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), in the 1950s. This model allows you to objectively assess a training program and shows its value to the business.

Let’s have a closer look at the four levels of the Kirkpatrick Model:

Level 1 — Reaction

The objective for this level is to define how learners feel about the training. Did they enjoy it and find it useful for their work? This kind of evaluation is aimed at getting feedback from learners about the courses they’ve completed, and see which training materials truly work and which ones should be improved for future use.

How to measure

To evaluate your employees’ reaction you can use:

  • face-to-face interviews;
  • printed surveys and questionnaires;
  • online polls and feedback forms.

How LMS training metrics can help

A learning management system (LMS) allows you to carry out reaction surveys and get user feedback. You can create questionnaires right in the system and easily track the results, without having to manage and transcribe paper forms.

An example of a learner survey

This training metric was used at the end of employee training in HealthHelp, working in the field of healthcare utilization management. The survey showed that the newly trained staff started feeling much better prepared, and their readiness for the job has risen from 80% to 87.5% so far.

Sample survey questions

  1. What did you enjoy most about the training?
  2. How much new information did you receive?
  3. Was the information actionable? How relevant is it to your job?
  4. Were you engaged with the content?
  5. Was the training well-organized and well-run?
  6. Did you face any difficulties when taking the course?
  7. What could have been improved?

Level 2 — Learning

At this level, you evaluate the increase in knowledge, skills, and attitudes after training. Did your employees learn what was planned? What did they gain from the course?

How to measure

To check your employees’ knowledge you can use:

  • written exams;
  • online tests and quizzes;
  • real or simulated tasks.

How LMS training metrics can help

With iSpring Learn, you can measure how much your employees have learned and track learners’ progress on every assessment.

There is a whole set of LMS training metrics that will help you evaluate employees’ achievements.

  1. Progress & Completion Rates

These metrics are the starting point in measuring training effectiveness on the second level. You can keep track of how often and how successfully learners study the content.

Useful tip: If it’s been a long time since the course was assigned, but users make slow progress, don’t ignore this. Perhaps the employees lack motivation to study. First of all, you need to figure out why they are not interested in learning. To find out the reason, you can conduct a survey in the LMS.

  1. Score results

This is one of the most important employee training metrics, as it gives an overview of the learning program’s effectiveness.

Useful tip: To assess employees’ progress more objectively, use a test before the training (pre-test) and after the training (post-test). It will give you insights into how much the learners improve.

  1. Attempts & Answer Breakdown

The Attempt Detail metric shows the answers of a selected user on a certain quiz. You can see where a learner was mistaken and how many attempts they made. This metric will help you understand which subjects the learner still has poor knowledge and, if needed, assign them additional material for learning.

Useful tip: Check out the Answer Breakdown metric to see information on the average score and users’ answers for each question. If you notice that a high number of users gave a wrong answer on the same question, you need to make sure that the task definition in your test is clear. If it is OK, look through the course content — perhaps the topic was not explained clearly enough.

To learn about other LMS training metrics, see the full guide on the LMS reports.

Level 3 — Behavior

After assessing learners’ knowledge, it’s crucial to check if they’re applying it in the workplace. You need to evaluate how the training has influenced your employees’ performance. Does the learner use what they’ve learned in their work? Are they able to transfer the new knowledge to a specific situation?

To check your employees’ learning transfer you can use:

  • printed or online self-assessment questionnaires;
  • interviews with supervisors and colleagues;
  • сustomer surveys, comments, or complaints;
  • on-the-job observation checklists and rubrics.
  • data from work processes (call resolution time, errors rates, etc.)

Remember that when you assess behavior, you are measuring the effect of both the training and the work environment, such as whether or not managers support the use of new skills and knowledge on the job.

Level 4 — Results

At this level, you need to find out how behavioral changes affect the business. This returns you to the business goals for the training set in the beginning. Are your employees working faster? Is the problem rate going down? Has the company revenue increased?

Business results typically refer to several categories:

Lower costs

For example, MW-Light, a major producer of decorative lighting fixtures, moved a part of their training online. They created a unified training program including 50 product knowledge e-courses and 3 programs on sales techniques and started teaching salespeople from regional affiliates with iSpring Learn LMS. Overall, the company managed to cut down training costs per employee by 20 times.

Improved quality

HealthHelp also decided to shift a part of their training online. As a result, they improved employee performance, raised productivity levels at a faster rate, boosted employee retention, and enhanced clinical knowledge.

Time reduction

The world’s largest healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson, also achieved good results after revamping their training program. The company needed to provide training for 400 sales reps on various product lines. Business coaches traveled across different regions to host face-to-face courses and graded employees’ tests manually. It took an average of three months to provide certification training. After transitioning from a paper exam to online assessments, the company reduced the attestation period from three months to two days.

Higher income

Quantifying the results is necessary to calculate the return on investment (ROI). Did the outcomes after training justify its cost?

Calculating ROI is actually quite simple. The formula is:

ROI (%) = [(Total Program Benefits — Total Program Costs) / Total Program Costs] *100,

where Total Program Benefits means the profit produced for the company by the employee over a year as a result of, for example:

  • increased sales (versus pre-training performance);
  • fewer errors;
  • increased customer satisfaction;
  • revenue gains.

The most challenging part of an ROI study is getting reliable estimates for the financial benefits. Ask the accounting department to help.

Total Program Costs involve all the training expenses for the same period, including

  • initial needs assessment;
  • software or equipment expenses;
  • learning content;
  • travel and infrastructure costs;
  • instructor costs;
  • participant salaries.

Let’s take an example.

After training, the annual profit increased by $15,000. The total cost for the learning program was $6,000. So you can calculate the ROI like this:

ROI (%) = [($15,000 — $6,000) / $6,000] *100 = 150%

Here, a 150% ROI means that you received $1.50 of profit for every dollar invested in employee training.

If the ROI is over 100%, the program has a net benefit, and if the result is under 100%, the program has a net cost.

To Sum Up

It is very important to analyze the effectiveness of your learning strategy to show that it is producing value for the company. Evaluation will also help you identify any shortcomings, so you can make improvements to maximize the value of training for both the learners and the company.

Choosing an LMS with an extensive reporting capability and survey engine will help you make the process efficient by automating many of the measurement tasks.

Want to track learners’ progress in real time and experience the many other benefits of an LMS? Subscribe for a free 14-day trial of iSpring Learn.

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