Using The Net Promoter Score To Evaluate And Improve eLearning

The Net Promoter Score: How To Use It For eLearning Evaluation And Improvement 

Companies that create products or provide services have long needed a way to measure the attitudes customers have towards what they are offering. The Net Promoter Score (NPS), which was developed by Fred Reichheld, an expert in loyalty economics, seems to be the solution of the problem: It is a way of empirically measuring the level of loyalty or advocacy that exists between the producer and receiver of a product or service.

The Net Promoter Score of a product or service is established based on the response to a single question:

How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?

Respondent Categories

Respondents indicate their level of likelihood on a scale of 0 to 10:

  • Promoters.
    These people who respond with a score of 9 or 10 and represent the most valuable individuals to a company. Furthermore, they are most likely to advocate on the behalf of a company, as they recommend a product or service to others in their network.
  • Passives.
    These people report a score of 7-8 and do not represent any current value to a company. They are not likely to recommend a service or product, but are also less likely to actively disapprove of it.
  • Detractors.
    This group falls within a score of 0-6. Detractors may actively condemn a product or service and represent a negative value to a company.

Calculating The Net Promoter Score

To calculate the Net Promoter Score based on the responses to this question, one simply subtracts the percentage of "Detractors" from "Promoters". Generally speaking, the average NPS of companies who have been surveyed is around 10-15, with a score higher than 15 representing a very high level of customer advocacy. Some companies with very favorable public images, like Apple, Tesla, and Google, have an NPS over 50.

The Net Promoter Score And Product/Service Improvement

The NPS is a useful benchmark for measuring customer satisfaction. In addition, it can guide the process of improving on a product or service. By interviewing “Promoters”, companies can explore the reasons why customers have positive attitudes towards a product, or the environments that support a positive product experience.

Conversely, companies can also interview “Detractors”. This is a procedure to explore the reasons why customers have very negative attitudes of a product, and the environments or contexts that might contribute to a negative experience.

This exercise is quite similar to the Success Case Method, according to which one can gather and contrast information from successful and unsuccessful cases. The purpose of this process is to leverage and promote the aspects of a product or service that are working, and also address the parts that are frustrating or discouraging to customers.

What About eLearning?

The Net Promoter Score has clear applications to the eLearning evaluation process; it can become a useful tool in your toolbox. Consider how you could integrate the NPS into your process of developing, evaluating, and improving upon an eLearning product. After creating and releasing a course in an organization, consider following up with a survey that includes the NPS question. Again, it is a simple question; it should not represent a big hassle for respondents:

How likely is it that you would recommend this eLearning course to a friend or colleague?

Administering this survey is quite simple, due to its brevity. You can ask this question via an online survey or email, or even face-to-face, asking your colleagues in the cafeteria.

Using the responses to this question, you can easily calculate the Net Promoter Score for your eLearning course. This can supplement your regular evaluation procedure. It can also better illustrate the relationship your learners had with your course.

More importantly however, the Net Promoter Score also allows you to single out and interview “Promoters” and “Detractors”. This way, you can find out what contributed to their positive and negative attitudes towards your course. For example, you could find that “Promoters” often had a manager that supported the completion of the course. Conversely, “Detractors” often had managers that brought a “just-check-the-box” attitude towards training. Using this information, you can improve the learning experience simply by addressing this important environmental factor.

In summation, the Net Promoter Score can be a useful tool not only in establishing the attitudes towards your eLearning course, but also during the process of iteratively improving on what you have created. Can you think of any other ways the Net Promoter Score can be used in the eLearning development process? If so, tweet to me @adamgavarkovs.

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