You Say Quantitative—I Say Qualitative: Whose Training ROI is This Anyway?

In a previous blog post, Educating and Challenging Stakeholders on Instructional Design Best Practices, I suggested that certain qualities that make an effective salesperson can also help learning strategists and instructional designers influence decision makers to embrace learning and development trends, tools, and best practices. Several of these qualities focused on a learning strategist’s comfort level when discussing the relationship of best practices and the financial implications of learning and development projects.

The most common term used to reference financial and business drivers is Return on Investment or ROI.  When I look back to my earlier days as a learning strategist, I now know that I overused ROI in my consultations with customers and prospects. At the time, I had but a superficial grasp of what ROI meant and I applied the concept the same way no matter who I was talking to. This resulted in several admonishments by stakeholders that I was oversimplifying and adding ‘soft dollars’ to the potential benefits of the training I was proposing.

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