aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

How Did You Do in 2009?

Posted by Ellen on December 31, 2009

Some of us see the end of the calendar year as a good time to evaluate learning against established industry standards. Benchmarking. Figuring out how we did. Where we stand. And from that, plotting a path through the next year.

With my usual caveat about how you need to be careful when comparing an association or non-profit’s performance against a for-profit business, here are some useful measurements, all extracted from “Building the Business Case for e-Learning” by Temple Smolen, published by the eLearning Guild:

— 61% of eLearning Guild members report elearning represents less than 30% of their overall training budget. If your association dedicates more than 30% to alearning, congratulate yourself for moving online for the convenience of your members!

— If you’ve experienced a return on your elearning investment, you’ve met the benchmark.  Only 0.9% reported losing money and fewer than 4% reported breaking even. Don’t know if you’re generating revenue? Time to find out!

— Half of those surveyed reported a return on investment greater than 15%. Half reported less or no return. Which half are you in?

— If your organization is increasing its elearning budget each year, you’re in the majority. And if your goal is to grow the elearning budget as the curriculum expands, learning management system capacity increases, or other enhancements are added, you’re in line with the progression path most organizations take.

— More than half those surveyed said the ongoing cost for online learning is less than $50/learner, outside the initial development and set-up costs. What’s it costing you, per learner, to keep your alearning offerings available?

— Discouraged by the quality of your first offering? Don’t be. According to the eLearning Guild survey, only 10% reported “good quality results on their first attempt” at offering online learning. Nearly 35% of respondents said it took them seven or more courses to achieve the desired level of quality, and of those, 25% said it took 10 or more. Of course, hiring a professional organization should ensure greater success earlier on, rather than taking on the learning curve yourself.

So, how did you do? What could you be doing better? What will you be celebrating?

And — if you know of association-specific data that provides useful benchmarks and standards, please share!

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