How To Measure Training Effectiveness: A Learning Analytics Guide For CFOs

How To Measure Training Effectiveness A Learning Analytics Guide For CFOs
Javier Brosch/
Summary: Measuring the effectiveness of your training program is an essential step of the training process. Learning analytics is the best tool you can use to maximize your ROI and determine the true value of your employee training programs.

Calculating The Impact Of Training For CFOs In The Organization

It is safe to say that investing in employee training and development programs has become essential in today's market. The best employee training programs have been proven to provide a high ROI by increasing employee retention rates, productivity, loyalty, and skill level. Companies that invest in quality training have seen as much as a 24% increase in their profit margins [1].

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However, not all employee training programs are effective or make the kind of impact that is worth the investment. In fact, 45% of investments in corporate training have been found to be ineffective [2]. This is every CLO’s nightmare.

Fortunately, CFOs can use learning analytics to measure the effectiveness and ROI of their organization’s employee training initiatives. Data analytics improves learning experiences by providing data-driven course updates, improvements, and personalization [3].

Utilizing Learning Analytics To Measure The Effectiveness Of A Training Program

Using advanced analytics for training evaluation is not as daunting as it sounds. Most Learning Management Systems already have some form of learning analytics already but advanced analytics provides the data and analysis that is needed to really measure the true cost and value of training. CFOs can use the data collected from analytics along with the Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation to maximize the effectiveness of their corporate learning programs.

The Kirkpatrick model consists of 4 levels of evaluation reaction, learning, behavior, and results.

The first level measures how employees feel about the training. The second level measures how much of the information employees are retaining. The third level determines if participants are improving applying their new skills on the job. The fourth and final level is about the overall results and how they impact organizational goals.

What chief financial officers really want to know is the results and overall impact of the program on the organization. This way, they can better determine and prove whether it is truly worth the cost.

There are 4 key analytics metrics that will give you insights into the effectiveness and cost of training.

1. Time-To-Competency

Analytics can track how quickly an employee becomes proficient in a new skill. Whether you are evaluating an onboarding program or training to help employees adopt new software, measuring how long it takes for them to improve their skills and knowledge is essential to effective evaluation. Training should increase the time-to-competency in some way. How much is dependent on the complexity of the subject matter and length of training.

2. Knowledge Retention

Knowledge retention can be measured with skills and assessments. Learning analytics can help you with data management and the analysis of these assessments. High knowledge retention rates let you know that the training is effectively teaching employees the new skills they must learn to improve their performance.

If employees don’t remember what they learned, they will not be able to apply their knowledge in the workplace. This would mean the training would not have an impact on workplace performance which is the main goal of employee training.

If employees are able to retain information, they are more likely to apply their new skills on the job.

3. Knowledge Application

Knowledge application is essential to improving employee performance. If employees do not apply what they learn on the job, then there will be little if any impact on employee performance. Although it is difficult to measure knowledge application through analytics and machine learning, you can track their behavior and scores from simulations.

Simulations are lifelike scenarios that give employees an opportunity to practice their skills without risk. When employees practice a new skill in a simulation, they are more likely to have the confidence and knowledge necessary to apply it in real life.

4. Employees' Reactions To Training

Employee reactions and feelings about training are more qualitative than quantitative but that doesn't mean they are not important. Employees' ratings, comments, and thoughts about the training program can give you important insights into engagement levels, relevance of training, and overall effectiveness.

If employees find that the training is not relevant or is complex, they are likely to share this information if the opportunity is given. This is useful not only for measurement but also for the purposes of optimization.

Analytics Reports

Learning analytics collects and analyzes data, but it also offers reporting capabilities. These reports can help you track key insights and data points more quickly and efficiently. These reports often show data regarding learner patterns that will give you a deeper understanding of why portions of the training are or are not effective. Some common analytics reports CFOs may find useful are learner progress reports, learner passing/failing comparisons, and enrollment stats.


Measuring the effectiveness of your training programs will help your organization maximize your ROI and provide quality learning experiences. The truth is that employee development programs that engage learners do a lot more than simply increase skill levels and productivity.

They also play a huge role in attracting and retaining new talent. 68% of employees say that L&D opportunities are one of the major deciding factors they consider when looking for a new job [4]. It has been found that it costs 30% or more of an employee’s salary to replace them [4].

An effective employee training program is worth the investment and can have a positive financial impact on your business in many ways, but you will never know how effective your program is without measurement.

The Kirkpatrick model for training evaluation is helpful while measuring training, but analytics will help you find the data your need for accurate evaluation more easily. However, there are 4 learning analytics metrics to keep in mind when it comes to finding the true cost of training:

  • Time-to-competency
  • Knowledge retention
  • Knowledge application
  • Employee reactions

Learning analytics makes it easier for CFOs to track and report the real business impact a training program has on your business and find areas for improvement so that the ROI of training can be maximized.

To learn more about the value of learning analytics, check out the eBook The Power Of Learning Analytics: Measuring L&D Outcomes For Business Performance. If you're curious about how to use learning analytics for remote workforce engagement, join the webinar, too!


[1] Mind-blowing Statistics that Prove the Value of Employee Training and Development

[2] Measuring What Counts: 10 Learning Analytics to Live By

[3] Business Impact of Learning Analytics

[4] 7 Stats that Prove Training Value