Monday, January 21, 2008

Why Return on Expectations... ROE is What You Measure With Your Elearning Management Solution.

Most people consider ROI the most important thing to measure when it comes to determining if your training program, system or solution is paying off.

I submit to you that your ROE, return on expectations... may be a more important area of evaluation, initially.

From an ROI perspective your training program, system or solution should be evaluated based on what your “expectations” on measurement of success should be. For example, what are your realistic expectations regarding cost savings? How much money do you need to save for you to consider your program a success? What is the overall business impact of your training program? Is there improved productivity and how much of an improvement is needed for you to consider your program a success?

Once you determine your expectations, then you can determine your ROI.

Next, you’ll need to consider how the information you’ve gathered should be used. Will the information be used as a tool for budget justification, support for additional programs or perhaps a corporate case study/

How do you measure “training impact”?

Here are some key benchmarks you need to evaluate when determining if your training program makes sense... and the amount of emphasis you should place on each.
• ROI = 5%-10%
• Business Results = 20%
• Job Impact = 30%
• Learning = 70%
• Satisfaction = 100%

Questions to Evaluate:
• Did they like the course? What % of skills was new? Did they use the material on the job? Are they planning on applying the new skills?
• How much time does the new skill save? How many fewer errors are the employees making as a result?
• How much money can they save? How many new orders can they take? How many new files are they able to process faster?
• What can they now do that they couldn’t do before? What opportunities does this open up for the organization? Is there a $$ amount that can be associated with the opportunities?

So, making it simple – you should judge your program “heavily” on two factors... 1-) are they learning faster and are they using the new skills? 2-) are they satisfied with the program material?

You need to obtain this information through post-event surveys and follow-up surveys. Pre and post-follow-up assessments are critical evaluation tools that you should be using on an ongoing basis.

Remember... when implementing an elearning management solution or a computer based learning program – how you plan your program initially from set up... can make all the difference.

Think “program” not “course”. For your program you’ll need to plan the communication, how your training will be scheduled and delivered – and what the realistic expectation criteria is for evaluation of your program later.

Here are the critical items – the “blueprint” for your training program roll-out and evaluation.

1. Identify your target learners. Who is your group? What is the learning path? You identify them through manager surveys and online assessments.
2. Determine what learners need. What is the learning material for this group? How does it relate to your business goals or solving your business “gaps” or problems? Again the use of manager surveys, online assessments and having a clear understanding of the companies objectives.
3. Identify pre-requisite skills. What building blocks are needed? Determined through the use of learner surveys and assessments.
4. Preparing the learner for learning. This involves more one to one interaction through meetings with managers, conference calls and webinars.
5. Preparing the managers for coaching and supporting the learners. Again, this is done through conf calls, webinars and face to face meetings with managers
6. Scheduling and delivery. Determine what the proper mix of repetition and frequency is. How might your employees benefit from emphasized and timed delivery of certain material through automated engagement? Which material needs to be reinforced regularly and what is the timeline for that? What are the delivery mechanisms? Classroom, elearning, books, CD’s, DVD’s, webinars, teleseminars, collaboration, etc.,
7. Applying the learning. Evaluate how each employee learns. Are they auditory, visual or kinesthetic? Classroom observation is needed. Role plays and collaborative interaction should be evaluated. Learning labs and simulations should be implemented.
8. Providing support and reinforcement – can be evaluated with surveys, assessments, repetition and frequency of message through elearning delivery; group interaction and collaboration.
9. Tracking the learning – through your elearning management solution or LMS.
10. Ensuring learning is being used – through progress monitoring from your elearning management solution or LMS.
11. Keeping the learning current – by always evaluating your material through ongoing surveys, assessments and meeting with managers.

Know what you want to measure and why... before you implement you computer based learning program. Know what your realistic expectations are for evaluation.

Being smart up front can save you a lot of time, money and resources later.

George Ritacco

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ten Predictions for eLearning 2008 : eLearning Technology

Great Blog Post from Tony at TechEmpower. Great stuff and solid predictions IMO. The focus seems to be "efficiency" in elearning and utilizing the right elearning management solution to maximize resources and productivity.

Here are some highlights: LMS/Talent Management Systems will continue to serve the needs of a select few... but not the masses. The masses will be looking for streamlined and cost-effective ways to deliver their training.

Articulate will continue to dominate the authoring tools market. We've always been an advocate of the Articulate suite of rapid elearning tools. (all supported in OmniTrackPlus 2.0).

And medium size vitual classrooms will get more focus and attention as organizations look to do more "virtual" ILT.

Check out the article below. It's good stuff.


The Big Question this month are Predictions for Learning in 2008. Here are my predictions, but realistically they are more about trends in eLearning and eLearning Software.

Prediction #1 => eLearning 2.0 - Increasing Pressure

It's safe to predict that you'll be hearing more and more about eLearning 2.0 during 2008. While large scale adoption will be slow, specific solutions aimed at particular audience needs will be more common. There will be increasing pressure on each of us to understand eLearning 2.0 for ourselves in order to apply it within our organizations (eLearning 2.0 - An Immediate, Important Shift). This will increase adoption of Web 2.0 tools by learning professionals (More eLearning Bloggers). It will also cause us to look more closely at Personal Learning for Learning Professionals - Using Web 2.0 Tools to Make Reading & Research More Effective.

Prediction #2 => Virtual Classroom Tools - Meeting Tool + Second Life Lite

A medium size Virtual Classroom / Meeting Tool will announce features in 2008 that are not 3D immersive, but that are more like Mii characters in a 2.5D world. This will allow more natural kinds of interactions in classroom settings, especially for things like breakout activities.

Prediction #3 => Authoring Tools - Captivate and Articulate Will Dominate

It rhymes and it's an easy prediction that these two tools will dominate authoring. Interestingly, they both were originally considered rapid authoring tools but now are becoming THE authoring tools. Some lower-end, PPT + Audio tools will do well with none winning huge shares of the marketplace. Wiki + SCORM + Add-ins will become more common for easy authoring.

Prediction #4 => Less Authoring - More Web Pages

While we may want to use our authoring tools all the time, there's going to be more and more cases where clients (internal or external) are going to be just find with some web pages and maybe some embedded training snippets or an embedded fun Flash Quiz. Short, fast and to the point will be the standard. This will increase the discussion of the relevance of ISD / ADDIE (see also ADDIE Not Relevant?).

Prediction #5 => Mobile Learning - Continued Scattered Examples and Disappointment

This is going to be another somewhat disappointing year for mobile learning. While the iPhone and other mobile devices continue to proliferate and while the amount of web access via mobile devices will continue to grow rapidly (now approaching 20%), mobile learning solutions will continue to find adoption in scattered, specific examples. More podcasts and video casts for audiences with easy access, think students, remote sales forces, etc. Specialized tools for mobile professionals. But large adoption of mobile as THE learning platform still won't be there.

Prediction #6 => Metrics-Driven Performance and Learning Interventions

My article coming out in January will spark discussion around what is actually a quite common model. And because it ties directly to metrics that matter to the business, this will get significant attention during the year.

Prediction #7 => LMS => More of What You Don't Want

Large players will continue to move towards functionality in Talent Management - likely mostly features that you really don't care that much about. Luckily a few will also add in more community and wiki capabilities. Unfortunately, these will be even worse than Sharepoint, the solution you already hate. All of this will cause of to continue to ask Do You WANT an LMS? Does a Learner WANT an LMS? Unfortunately, you can ask all you want, you will still be doing a lot of work with LMS products this year.

Prediction #8 => Serious Games - Seriously Sorry, Not for You

They will continue to get talked about A LOT. And people will continue to be interested and excited. Likely YOU will get to attend a session on them. But YOU won't get to build one, or buy one, or participate in one.

Prediction #9 => Niche Online Discussions

Based on a series of events (success of small group discussions at eLearningGuild in the Fall, success of the virtual conference with George Siemens, discussion with Jay Cross and others about a conference for people with more experience, and discussion by Luis Suarez about a targeted virtual conference), I'm starting to think that the way to go is to have frequent, more targeted online, virtual discussions on particular topics. The format of the virtual conference that George and I put together wasn't quite right - still a lecture - threaded discussions weren't quite active enough and the questions weren't focused. We need a targeted discussion. For example, I just had someone ask about using Facebook in a corporate context as part of on-boarding. I'll likely schedule a call with this person to discuss what they are trying to do. Why not have several people involved in the discussion? Why not record it? Is the barrier the lack of free access to the tools? The overhead of pulling it together? My guess is that it doesn't take much more to get it to happen with a small group than getting it to happen with two or three people. And the barriers are getting lower all the time. I'm thinking this is going to start happening - A LOT.

Prediction #10 => Knowledge Worker Skills - Just Beginning in 2008, Big in 2009

The discussion of knowledge work skills is going to be BIG ... We won't hear much this year, but in 2009, this will be something you'll hear in a big way.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Automated Engagement... Fast Learning, Longer Recall.

I wanted to share this concept with all of you before the beginning of the new year. 2008 could very well be the best year you've had as a trainer. That choice, is yours. Make 2008 the best year you can!

Happy New Year!