Despite an emerging focus on training ROI, recent research shows that, for most organisations, there is still a gross misalignment between where the majority of their training budget is spent, and the activities which represent the largest proportion of their learning effectiveness. For the majority of training that organisations undertake, research by Dr. Brent Peterson at Columbia University has shown that:

  • 24% of learning effectiveness takes place in the actual learning event activities
  • 50% of learning effectiveness takes place in post-learning event activities.
  • 26% of learning effectiveness takes place in pre-learning event activities

Yet, most organisations continue to divide the investment in their training like so:

  • Pre-learning event activities represent 10% of training budgets
  • Learning event activities represent 85% of training budgets
  • Post-learning event activities represent 5% of training budgets.

Therefore, organisations are spending 95% of their budgets on learning event activities that only represent 50% of their learning effectiveness, and a mere 5% of events that represent the other 50%!How can you make sure that your organisation doesn’t waste your valuable training budget? Here are four tips to ensure you allocate your budget to maximize training effectiveness:

  1. Provide more guidance for flexible pre-work
    Although the most significant misallocation of learning budgets occurs post-learning, there is also a mismatch between the amount invested in pre-learning events, and their effectiveness. To address this issue, L&D departments should invest more time and effort into ensuring that learners have access to flexible, individualised pre-work. How can L&D departments individualise pre-work? By providing a pre-learning quiz and directing learners to certain resources based on their results.
  2. Implement analytics
    Evaluations of learning effectiveness are only useful, however, if they are supported by meaningful and robust analytics. Although the measure of effectiveness should always be tied directly to the training’s business performance objective, analytics that measure changes in behaviour, and business results, are most likely to be the best reflection of learning effectiveness. L&D departments may need to corroborate with other departments to obtain these results, for example, if sales training was conducted, any percentage changes in sales could be obtained from the sales department, etc. Changes in behaviours and results should then be used as a benchmark to measure the effectiveness of future training.
  3. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate
    If the majority of learning effectiveness really is occurring during post-learning event activities, then organisations need to focus their training evaluations on these events, even if assessing them technically falls outside the scope of the L&D department. Most L&D departments, for example, assess the degree to which their programs has met its objectives either immediately following, or a week or two after, the actual learning event. However, if the majority of learning effectiveness is occurring after the learning event, this means that they need to create significantly longer range assessments that measure learning effectiveness weeks, or even months, after the learning event.
  4.  Embrace technology
    Don’t have time to individualise learner pre-work? Don’t understand how to maximise learning effectiveness? Fortunately, numerous technology platforms have now been developed that do all the hard work for you. For example, there is now a plethora of different adaptive testing software available which individualises learning content based on test results. Also, some mLearning platforms, such as Teazl, have been designed and developed to maximise learning effectiveness by giving L&D departments the ability to design courses which combine pre, actual, and post learning events.
    Are you guilty of wasting your training dollars? To ensure that your budget allocation aligns best with the events that represent the largest percentage of your learning effectiveness, ensure you invest in thorough evaluations, meaningful analytics, individualised pre-work, and the latest technology.
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