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Learning and Development Metrics

    Mithlesh Dhar

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    Learning & Development is one of the most important aspects of an employee's life cycle. As employees become an integral part of the organization, their performance directly affects the profitability of the organization.

    To ensure that employees perform to the best of their abilities, learning and development teams spend many hours developing training courses for employees. 

    But without keeping a check on the overall performance of the training or the training outcomes, it becomes difficult for HR Teams to check the effectiveness of training.

    Therefore, to understand the effectiveness of a training program, one needs to ensure learning and development metrics are in place.

    What are learning and development metrics?
    Learning and Development Metrics might be defined as measuring and analyzing learning and development programs. These metrics can be used to understand how training or learning programs are helping in the overall profitability of the organization using adding skills to employees.

    There was a time when the learning and development department was only accountable for the number of people that were put through training and the cost. But now things have changed, learning and development have evolved.

    As technology has increased over the past few years, the involvement of the learning and development department has also increased. Some of the reasons for the learning and development team to get involved are as follows;

    1. Introduction of new technology in the organization
    2. A gradual decrease in the overall performance of employees
    3. Induction programs 
    4. A policy change by government agencies might also require a learning and development team to provide brief about the same to employees.
    5. Career development programs
    6. Learning programs associated with succession planning, etc.

    There can be many other reasons that one can add, which depict the importance of learning and development programs. These all things also include huge budgets to be allocated.

    Several organizations which are well established, have already created separate learning and development departments and there is a separate budget allocated to the same. In the case of small organizations, the HR Team only conducts training and development programs, hence some part of their budget is associated with the same.

    Some of the Learning and Development Metrics are as follows;
    1. Training Intake:
    If there is data regarding the number of training that are happening in the organization, help get an idea about which training programs need to be kept on priority. Some examples of training intake metrics include:

    • the number of training requests your L&D team receives,
    • the acceptance or rejection rate of training requests, and 
    • the topics that are being addressed for training more often.

    After gathering some data concerning the above criteria, you will be able to find a trend and then you can align your courses to requirements.

    2. Participation Rates:
    When you have addressed employees in your organization concerning the training program that your team has created, you can check the participation rates to get an idea of the overall success and engagement of the training program.

    Participation rates also help in understanding which department heads are not allowing employees to attend the training programs, which might result in overall lower performance than the employees who have attended the training program.

    3. Completion Rates:
    There might be a case where employees will leave the training program in between. This will also help you in getting an idea of which parts of the training program are less engaging.

    For example, you might get to know that employees are not completing the video courses, which you can also replace with classroom or on-the-job training programs.

    4. Pass Rate:
    This is one of the important learning and development metrics, which helps in knowing if the training program is transmitting useful information to the employees that have taken part in the same.

    This also gives an idea if the trainers and the training module is efficient enough to train the employees. If more employees are not able to pass the evaluation, this shows that the course is not efficient effect or some parts are not so much understandable.

    5. Ongoing Skills Assessment:
    This is again one of the important metrics to check learning and development efficiency. Ongoing Skills Assessment gives an idea about real-time learning of the employees.

    These metrics may include simple evaluation using MCQ-type questions, or feedback of the employees who are taking part in the training program, etc.

    6. Training ROI:
    This is one of the few tools that can be used before starting a training program and after the training program has been implemented as well. This is because Return On Investment can be used to show the profitability of the training programs to the stakeholders.

    Also, one can verify if the actual ROI is nearby to Expected ROI or not.

    7. Methods of Training:
    These learning and development metrics can be used to understand what are the various sources of training, and which one is better. There may be several sources of training, like;

    • Classroom Training
    • On The Job Training
    • Video Training
    • Role Plays, etc

    One can determine which training methodology can be used to impart the best possible skills to the employees.

    8. Workplace Application:
    These learning and development metrics can be used to understand if employees felt that the training program was efficient enough or not. If the program is better, then employees will be able to retain the learnings and also apply the same in their daily jobs.

    Similarly, there can be several other learning and development metrics that can be used to understand how efficient a learning and development program is.

    Also, it could be used to first give an estimate of how profitable a training program is going to be in the long run, and in the end, one can also check the same by comparing the actual results.

    These metrics are also important because they show how efficient it is to impart skills and knowledge to employees and the L&D Team can give more data-driven insights into the overall profitability of the organization.

    9. Benefit-Cost Ratio:
    A benefit-cost ratio (BCR) is a ratio in a cost-benefit analysis to summarize the overall relationship between the relative costs and benefits of a proposed training program.

    BCR can be expressed in monetary or qualitative terms. If a training and development BCR is greater than 1.0, then that program is expected to deliver a positive net present value (NPV) to a firm and its investors.

    If BCR is equal to 1.0, then the ratio indicates that the NPV of profits equals the costs, so there might not be any monetary benefit of the program. Benefits might be equaling to the overall cost itself.

    If BCR is less than 1.0, then the ratio indicates that the NPV of profits is less than that of costs, and there is no benefit of going ahead with a program.

    Limitations of BCR: One needs to understand that BCR shows a project benefit with regards to numbers, even if there are several intangible and sentiment-based factors involved in the success or failure of a training program.

    For example, there can be a training program with regards to moral duties, and it might seem that BCR is less than1.0, which shows the failure of the program in terms of profitability, but we know providing training with regards to moral duties, makes the organization more culturally rich, and hence helps in developing a brand, which is intangible but is overlooked in case of BCR.

    BCR = Benefits/Cost

    10. Return on Investment (ROI):
    Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of profitability of an investment or compare the efficiency of several different investments. 

    ROI tries to directly measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment's cost. 

    ROI = (Current Value of Investment - Cost of Investment/Cost of investment)*100


    ROI = (Net Benefits of Training/Cost of Training)*100

    Limitations of ROI: Again like BCR, ROI also looks after monetary gains of a training program, hence one needs to be careful when we are using ROI, as one needs to ensure that we can justify a lower ROI with intangible benefits, which one cannot express in monetary forms.

    1. Return on Investment