Online Technical Training Blog

Online Learning ROI

How To Calculate ROI For Online Learning


The argument over the value of online learning has been put to bed over the last 2 years, simply based on the amazing flexibility that it provides people in their place, on their own time, and with whatever priorities they may have. Often the only outstanding question that a potential student or corporate trainer must resolve is “is it worth the price?”.

So how do you answer that question?

The simplest approach to answer this question is what corporate training managers often use; what is the potential return on investment (ROI) of the particular training.

What is ROI?

ROI, or "Return on Investment," is a statistic used to determine the profit gained from an investment. This metric is expressed as a percentage of how much money has been generated for every dollar spent. This strictly financial indicator is incredibly important because it can be used to tell us about the benefits of online training relative to its cost.  As such, it is used to help us understand the value online training programs deliver.

Why Calculate the ROI of Training? 

ROI calculations of online training will answer two of the most important questions you may have!

• Are trainees learning new skills and knowledge that will help them boost productivity and/or cut expenses in the workplace?

• Is it possible to compare the expense of this training to the advantages it provides to both employees and the organization?

The return on investment (ROI) can be used to justify the cost of a training course, compare one training option to another, or help an organization decide to develop its own training. It's a simple technique to track the effectiveness of training and determine how much value was created as a result of the learning.

How to Calculate ROI, Specifically for an Online Program

To figure out the ROI of any given online learning program, you’ll need to zero in a few variables:

1. Cost: What is the price of the program? Fees should be easily accessible on the school or training organization's website under "program cost." Remember to factor in application costs, books, and any other course materials. Time is also a factor in cost. How long will the training take? Start with class time, and don't forget to include time spent on homework. Also, consider how much time an employee will be off the job to complete a training program and what will that cost your organization.

2. Return: How much time and money will you or your team save/earn as a result of the new knowledge and skills learned from the training? Calculate your return based on the money or time earned or saved. Will the training reduce equipment downtime? Will it reduce the cost of using outside vendors?

Plug these numbers into our formula and you are on your way to determining the ROI. 

ROI Formula


Why Does Online Training Offer Particularly High ROI?

From improving standardized work to enhancing workflow, productivity enhancements are just a few factors that online learning and development programs can help achieve. The online training system also minimizes various costs that are typically associated with in-person training. This includes the elimination of travel and accommodation, meal costs, classroom maintenance, venue rental, printed learning materials, and salaries for instructors and other support staff. These are all expenses/fees that come with in-person training that online learning eliminates.

ROI Calculation Example

As an example, let’s say the cost of the training program was $2000 but the benefits of the program returned were $10,000 within just a few months … Maybe there was a reduction in scrap or reduced machine downtime that was the result of the training programs the employees were put through. Or maybe you were able to produce more products. If we now calculate, the program shows a 400 percent return.

Here’s that formula in action with the example figures:

10k – 2k/2k = 8k/2k = 4 or 400 %  or sometimes stated as 4X

Consider Online Training for a Higher ROI

Online technical training can replace the need for hands-on time and experience with equipment using simulation tools which leads to a higher ROI. For example, the GBCTechTraining Simulation software simulates the environment and equipment used in various industrial applications allowing learners to explore, learn, and practice within the simulated environment, preparing you for on-the-job tasks you are likely to encounter. Online training software reduces the expenses that come with in-person training, as well as offers the convenience of having employees complete their training on the job or on their personal time.

Online training offers a great ROI, and it is an investment to consider for yourself or your employees. Considering online technical education and would like to know more? Contact us! You can speak to a Program Consultant toll-free at 1 888-553-5333 or email us at

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