While you likely know how meaningful helping others improve their performance can be, it’s a measure of success that can seem vague to people outside of the training field. That’s why when you’re trying to share the value of the online training you create with stakeholders or clients, it can be helpful to shift your framing a bit. Try using these two approaches to give that audience a more complete picture of your contributions in terms that speak to them.

1. Calculate the Impact on Company Goals

The best way to show the value of your work is to demonstrate how your online courses impact important business objectives. Did your course lead to an increase in sales? Did it lead to a decrease in mistakes on the production line? Or how about an increase in customer satisfaction? If you can show that impact, then you can easily show your value. But how exactly can you do that?

To start, you need to be proactive. When asked to create an e-learning course, put on your performance consulting hat and begin investigating the business reasons behind the request. What challenges are they trying to solve? What business goals does the course need to contribute to? What behavior or skill changes are they looking for? Is there a set date or time period those changes need to happen by? Your aim in this conversation is to better understand the business needs your course should contribute to and identify specific and measurable signs of success. Plus, it helps you determine whether actually meeting those needs will require shifting the original request a bit.

For example, imagine you’ve been asked to train plumbers on installing a specific type of faucet. If you took the request at face value, you’d likely design a full course, walking them step by step through every stage of the installation. But by asking more questions and digging a bit deeper, perhaps you discover they’ve already been trained once on the installation but a few pesky errors keep happening. In fact, 75% of the problems boil down to three common but very preventable installation mistakes. No surprise, the company wants to fully eliminate those errors.

And with that information, your plan will likely change drastically. By just focusing on those three specific mistakes the plumbers make regularly, you’ll save a substantial amount of training time. Not only that, you now have a way to connect the training and performance support you create to a real business goal: reducing overall installation mistakes by 75%.

Now you can design your course to support the skill and behavior changes you’ve identified. And after learners have completed the content, you have a way to measure whether their performance has improved. By comparing their past performance to their new skill levels, you can show how your e-learning directly contributed to important company objectives.

Now, it’s possible that not every course is going to allow for this type of approach. For example, it’s notoriously difficult to measure the impact of compliance courses. In those cases, there’s another way to highlight the value of your work.

2. Calculate the Cost Savings

Online training is often less expensive than traditional classroom training, particularly when you’re running it more than once. That means an easy way to show the value of your training is a cost comparison chart between the two methods.

Consider all the elements involved in traditional classroom training that you avoid with online training. For example, let’s say you have an existing 6-hour training session you want to share with a distributed sales force. These charts share a few common costs you might run into for delivering one in-person session at a central location versus shifting that content into an e-learning course.

 

Traditional Classroom Training (40 attendees)

Category

Cost of Initial Session

Cost of Repeat Sessions 

Room rental (if your facility can’t handle the entire team)

$600

$600

Technology rental (if rental facility requires you to use their projector equipment)

$150

$150

Refreshments

$300

$300

Food (lunch or dinner)

$2,000

$2,000

Travel expenses (gas, flights, etc.) for team members coming to the training

$6,000

$6,000

Printed materials

$400

$400

New course prep time for trainer

$1,500

$0

Trainer’s time

$500

$500

TOTAL

$11,450

$9,950

 

Online Course

Category

Cost of Initial session

Cost of Repeat Sessions

Internal instructional designer/e-learning developer’s salary during course development

$6,000

$0

Course assets (images and audio)

$750

$0

Contracted work (narration)

$1,800

$0

TOTAL

$8,550

$0 

 

While the cost of the initial session isn’t too different, you’ll notice that with e-learning, repeat sessions are totally free, while with in-class training, they’re almost as expensive as the initial session. So even if your initial e-learning course creation bill ends up being higher than the cost of in-person training—for instance, if you need to hire a vendor to create the course for you—if it’s replacing multiple sessions then chances are you’ll end up with substantial cost savings over time.

Opportunity cost is another consideration to factor into your comparisons. Going back to our example, let’s say those sales reps average $1,000 in sales per day. With an e-learning course your reps are only offline for one day. But if they’re flying or driving a long distance to your in-person training, not only do you have the cost of the session, but you’re also sidelining them from earning sales for two extra days as they travel to and from your location. In this case, that’s up to $80,000 in missed sales opportunities for each training group of 40 people, making the full cost of that in-person session bloat up to a pricy $91,450!

Collect price estimates for both methods and create a quick side-by-side comparison to show to your boss. With that information, it’s easy to make a clear argument for how much e-learning can save the company.

In Summary

Demonstrating the value of online training to the organization might seem overwhelming at first, but if you make it a part of your normal course creation process it can actually be quite simple. So next time you land a new project, make sure you consider how you’ll measure that value from the start. By being proactive, asking the right questions, and collecting the necessary information, you’ll be able to share just how valuable your work really is in terms that stakeholders and clients care about.

Want to learn even more techniques you can use to share the value of both e-learning and training in general? Check out these articles:

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