Home > Best Practices > Why Your Learning Initiative Needs Before and After Photos

Why Your Learning Initiative Needs Before and After Photos

 Some rights reserved by jgarber Before and after photos are the #1 marketing tool of those selling miracle weight loss and fitness programs. Although we see these images everywhere, they endure as really compelling testimonials to the effectiveness of these solutions.

Learning professionals could learn a thing or two from the fitness industry:

  • It’s important to measure
  • Once you’ve measured improvement, it’s important to clearly communicate those improvements to others (including those who fund your learning initiatives).
  • Your “after” measurements should be ongoing (6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc.)
If you’re considering acquiring your first learning management system (LMS), consider taking some snapshots—figuratively speaking— of your current situation. Here are some of the things you may want to measure while you’re still managing learning manually:
  • Travel and accommodation costs to send learners and instructors to face-to-face training sessions in remote locations
  • Cost in loss of productivity when learners are sent away for training
  • Your current employee turnover rate
  • The administrative cost of maintaining paper records
  • The cost of manually printing and mailing certificates
  • The cost of creating an instructor-led, classroom based course
  • The cost of paper and printing (instructor guide, handouts, etc.) for traditional classroom-based instruction
  • The amount of time it takes to create a course and deliver it to learners in a face-to-face setting
  • Estimated time and cost to provide compliance professionals with training records in the event of an audit
  • Estimated CO2 emissions from the cost of sending learners to remote locations for learning
Can you think of others? Please submit them as comments for others to read.
  1. December 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Richard, one thing I would add is the reduction in redundant time and resources specific to development of content. This makes the assumption that many learning assets are going to be designed for on-line consumption, versus using the LMS as a high-tech registrar for classroom based learning.

    The other assumption to consider is that design and development methodology change to embrace the prospects of re-use and re-purposing. Objectized design becomes more critical than ever before enabling the ability to re-use “chunks” of content [objects]. Objectizing job aids [performer support] that is directly addressable and/or served up as on-demand informal learning [depending upon the LMS] become another source of time savings. Plus. if the on-demand component puts learning assets into the hands of the workfroce while they are in their work context…in the middle of a work flow…and needing a performer support object, then you have another impact point.

    Also consider the time spent searching for content. If…and this is a BIG IF…you have developed an efficient taxonomy for the LMS…AND…it has a decent search function, you can slash the time spent by learners searching for what they need. Again, if the LMS can serve up informal content objects, you have a broader universe of content to measure…and the bigger the better…especially if they are searching while in their respective workflows generating revenue…or not, if spending too much time trying to find the object they need right then.

    My point in all of this…do not limit the scope of what you measure to the traditional aspect of learning. The trend is moving downstream and into the post-training environment of the work context where tangible impact is made… or lost…or delayed, etc. The LMS needs to service the entire learning ecosystem…edge-to-edge…and we need to measure the impact the same way. The closer to the point of real revenue generation, the easier it is to find “hard numbers” to share.

    I’ve survived three LMS implementations and sold [internally] a new EPSS system based upon impact assumptions. The closer to “real” impact, the sweeter the numbers.

    Good luck!


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