Elearning can be very cost effective compared to face-to-face learning, despite the relatively higher initial investment.
When adopting an elearning strategy, a number of costs either disappear or are mitigated when compared with face-to-face learning. These include the cost of managing classrooms, for participants to travel, and for accommodation or lodging. The cost of remunerating trainers might be substituted by that of remunerating tutors, relative to the number participants.
Conversely, the diffusion of elearning requires equipment (user posts or tablets, network and good bandwidth). Yet even the cost of this infrastructure will gradually decrease with respect to the cost of course materials, given the rise of cloud and on-demand software (saas).
In short, we can identify the following costs specific to face-to-face learning:
• travel and accommodation,
• course materials,
• learning time, and
• administration and management training.
How do you calculate the ROI of elearning?
To estimate the profitability of an elearning program you need to compare the costs with face-to-face learning, as in the table below:
Context and demand
An international development NGO sought DOKEOS’ assistance to train its aid workers.
Today it has trained nearly 20,000 users in its health and social development divisions. But the project started with a pilot group of 400 users needing to be trained within an existing IT environment.
• 400 users to train
• Existing computer equipment
• Course length: 8 hours face-to-face, 4 hours eIearning
• Hourly trainer cost: €140/h (including preparation and training management)
• Tutor time spent in eIearning: 10 minutes/participant
• Number of students per class: 20
• Travel and accommodation 1 night: €300/participant
• Course material: €10/participant
|Prenatal care course||Prenatal care elearning course|
|Course (4 hours)||–||€200,000|
25 days of course
8h x €70/h/participant
4h x €70/h/participant
|Support & maintenance||–||
15% per year at €50.000
|Total over 3 years||€472,500||€367,000|
What determines the ROI of elearning?
ROI increases with the number of employees trained. In other words, eIearning is especially worthwhile when it comes to training a large audience.
In our example above, the elearning program (including cost of platform) is amortised with an ROI of 112% over 3 years.