Jeff is a Sales Director who also initiates and monitors sales training activities in his organization. Three months ago, his team had undergone a product training course via eLearning for a newly launched product. As he was monitoring the sales results for the last quarter, he noticed that the sales of a particular product had increased significantly post the training program. Now, can he attribute the increased sales to the course that his team members have taken?
Did the training contribute to increased sales?
During the same period, the marketing department also had its own agenda with respect to launching the new product. They had conducted a thorough market research and launched an advertising campaign to build awareness and promote the product among its target customers. So, quite naturally they can stake claim for the increased sales of the said product, can’t they?
Did the advertising contribute to increased sales?
Now, if we conclude that the marketing and the advertising departments were bang on their mission and succeeded in achieving increased sales, we would be undermining the efforts of the sales team-their knowledge, skills, efforts and time invested in learning/selling and vice versa. The truth, most likely, is that both the training and as well as the advertising contributed to the increased sales. It is rather difficult to isolate the factors that contributed to the increased sales.
DAGMAR – Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising
Faced with this dilemma, years ago advertising professionals started looking for a more viable method to measure advertising success. After all, they had to justify their budget allocation to senior management, particularly when there are no concrete results in terms of increased sales. It was then that Russel H. Colley proposed the DAGMAR model of measuring the advertising results. He pointed out that advertising is a communication tool that aims to increase the awareness and recall of prospects about a product. DAGMAR stands for Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising. This model evaluates advertising at the communication level-evaluating the extent of awareness and recall of a product by their customers. Why can’t we emulate the tried and tested formula of the advertising world?
How can we measure the effectiveness of learning in eLearning courses?
Training or eLearning is no different from the goals of advertising. While the goal of advertising is communication, what is the objective of training/eLearning? The objective of training is learning to increase the knowledge and skills of learners. So why don’t we restrict our evaluation to level 2 (i.e., reaction and learning level) of Kirkpatrick levels of evaluation and measure how much the learners learned from training?
I have dealt with the four levels of evaluation as propounded by Kirkpatrick in my earlier blog titled “Calculating ROI on eLearning“. You can check out the blog if you would like to check out the four levels of training evaluation by Kirkpatrick and method for calculating ROI of training/eLearning. In that blog, I have shown how difficult it is to quantify the results at the 3rd and 4th levels, that is, Behavior or Business level. So, if we restrict ourselves to measure the success of learning as a measure for calculating the return on investment on eLearning, it is much doable and feasible. Don’t you agree?