Friday, January 1, 2010

Challenges of Evaluating e-Learning

More organizations are moving to e-Learning. The ASTD defines it as “e-Learning refers to anything delivered, enabled, or mediated by electronic technology for the explicit purpose of learning.”

Many organizations consider e-Learning to be a part of “lifelong learning” and thus it makes levels 3 & 4 evaluations more difficult. Also by their nature, higher level evaluation methods are not easy to collect on a survey immediately after a training event.

To properly evaluate e-Learning, planning is the key. Incorporate evaluation (and to what level) in the preliminary stages of designing an e-Learning curriculum.

The four key considerations:

1. Establish Requirements.
2. Plan Evaluation Efforts.
3. Collect Data.
4. Use the Results.

William Horton is a leader in the field of e-Learning design, development, implementation, and evaluation. I direct you to his web page that contains a presentation on why he measures levels one through four for e-Learning and a spreadsheet you can use to measure training costs and effectiveness. See this site at and I think you will agree that he gives away a lot of great information for free but you should still consider buying one of his books to get all the good inside information he has to offer.

His page states, “E-learning has racked up a lot of publicity and some impressive case studies. But will it work for you? This presentation shows you how to evaluate the effectiveness of e-learning in your organization, implement four levels of evaluation (from simple reaction to return on investment), and how to fit evaluation to your business and learning goals—as well as to your budget and schedule. (This presentation is based on the William Horton’s book Evaluating E-Learning.)”

Thanks for reading,

Kevin Love, MBA (e-Business)
Training and Organization Development Consultant
VP of Marketing for ASTD Fort Worth Mid-Cities Chapter
Dallas / Fort Worth Area

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