How to build a business case for e-learning

Marlene Liontis

Marlene Liontis is a member of the professional team of accredited consultants at eWorks. With a strong background in both learning and development (L&D) and e-learning, she knows a thing or two about building a business case to combine the two. What at first can seem like a daunting task can be as simple as 1, 2 and a few more.

Are all of your bases covered?

Earlier this month we learned how to overcome resistance to e-learning by creating effective online courses. But what if management simply doesn’t believe that an online approach to training will save let alone make money? That’s when a good business case is crucial. If you have been given this task and feel a little overwhelmed by it, here are a few tips to make sure that you have all of your bases covered:

  1. Make a strong case. Link your desired training programmes and the objectives directly to business results (the bottom line).
  2. Explain how it all works: a delivery platform (LMS) plus content = success!
  3. Summarise the available online content options such as designing your own, paying an instructional designer and purchasing established courses.
  4. Define the categories of costs of digital delivery and how they differ from using established methods. What will the future of these costs be?
  5. Define the reasons and goals for the training, then determine costs and expected return on these costs. Some questions you might like to ask include:
  • Why are we deploying the training?
  • What skills do we want to instil?
  • How much will the e-learning cost?
  • How will it increase productivity and translate into dollar terms?


Credit: ROI by Simon Cunningham

  1. Point out that the training is an investment in your organisation’s human capital – it is not just an expense. Time and money savings will include:
  • fewer recruitment costs – less hiring of more qualified staff
  • increased productivity as a result of having more skilled staff
  • better customer/client outcomes = more revenue!
  1. Highlight the metrics that are available such as the number of staff undertaking training, the number of completed courses and reports to auditor for compliance purposes. (Note: eWork’s TVC delivery platform has comprehensive built-in metrics and reporting).
  2. Check your existing business metrics and compare them before and after the training. In other words do a beta test with select staff for your business case to measure the impact of the online courses. Any operation and function that is improved by the training and has available metrics can be compared, offering concrete evidence to support the value of digital delivery.
  3. Measure return on investment (ROI) in direct profits. Using your beta test group highlight any increase in profitability that can be directly attributed to the training.
  4. Find out what your competition is doing in relation to staff training. Chances are they – like most organisations – are deploying e-learning. And if they are not already, they will be soon. Don’t forget to mention that in your business case.

Still stuck? Feel free to contact Marlene for a little help with your business case. And once you have convinced your managers, eWorks can you get online.

Buying an LMS? Don’t get ripped off!

Marlene Liontis

Marlene Liontis is the director of Lion Global HR Pty Ltd and a member of eWorks’ team of Accredited Consultants. She also founded her first e-learning company in 2009 and learned a huge amount about learning management systems in the process. Now she is keen to share what she learned in an effort to make life easier for anyone getting started in digital learning. With so many LMS models on the market how do we choose the right option for the short, medium and long-term – without getting ripped off?

LMS stands for ‘like my status’. Doesn’t it?

Let’s be honest. At some point in your life you have asked the question – either to a colleague or a search engine – ‘What is an LMS?’ And it’s a big step from knowing what an LMS is to understanding which type of LMS your business needs – even if you regularly use one. Because part of this understanding needs to include an awareness of what your LMS could be doing for you – either now or as your business expands. So you might think you have the best LMS in the world, until you find out that a whole bunch of things that you have been doing manually could easily be automated with the right set-up. And it can be daunting to approach vendors. A little like buying a car, you want them to at least think you know what you’re talking about so that they don’t take you for a – sorry – ride.

Credits: Guy,s Fine LMS 4-6-0 tender locomotive 3, by Les Chatfield

Seven quick questions for your LMS vendor

Fortunately, with only a few key questions you can ensure that an LMS can do what you need it to do and what you might need it to do one day. These questions have the added bonus of making you sound like you know what you’re talking about – an opportunity to fake it until you make it. And since the answers will help you to understand the concept of an LMS generally and each product specifically, the entire process will be part of your learning curve. Here we go, seven easy questions to ask your LMS vendor before committing to a new system:

1. Is it easy to implement?

A system that can be implemented quickly will reduce costs and roll out time and make life easier for you and your staff.

2. Is it easy to configure and customise?

Make sure the LMS reflects the way your organisation works and not the other way around. More time and money saved and staff grumbles avoided

3. Is it secure?

Does the LMS feature in-built security that lines up with your organisation’s policies? You really want to know this before you sign up.

4. Does it provide comprehensive reporting tools?

Consider your organisation’s requirements for concise compliance reports and performance appraisals. Whatever you want to achieve, there is more than likely a product out there that can do it.

5. What about functionality?

What level of functionality does your organisation require and will this change over time? What are the cost implications of these potential changes?

6. How about scalability?

Can the system grow in line with your organisation? Can it even promote your growth?

7. Does the vendor provide other services?

Ask the vendor if they offer content development? Consultancy? Training? Ideally you want a one-stop shop for all of your digital learning needs.

Need more words of wisdom from Marlene?

Take a look at her other blog posts:

Clear as mud? Feel free to get in touch if you’re struggling.

Third party compliance training. Not your job?

Marlene Liontis is the Director of Lion Global HR Pty Ltd and one of the team of eWorks’ Accredited Consultants. Have you ever considered your responsibility when it comes to third party compliance training? Fortunately for all of us, Marlene has.

The third party trend

Workplace third party use has been steadily increasing and shows no signs of abating. One survey suggests that up to 30% of Australians are doing some form of freelance work. Take a moment to look around your office or workplace right now. How many of your colleagues are permanent employees? I’m guessing there are quite a few contractors, temporary staff members, consultants, casuals and so on. That’s just the way things are these days. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, with many employees now choosing freelance or casual work. But what does that mean when it comes to risk management and compliance training and, most importantly, your responsibilities surrounding these activities?

[Credit: Risk, by Got Credit]

Yes it’s your responsibility

As the use of contractors and agents in the workplace becomes more prolific, so do the potential risks if they are not adequately trained. Do you know where lines would be drawn should one of your contractors or third parties be accused of misconduct? Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, ‘that’s not my responsibility, my contractors are from an agency that should take care of all of that’. You have a point, but what if the actions of your contract staff have an impact on the permanent staff for which you are clearly responsible? Third party risk management and compliance training should be as much of a consideration as compliance training for permanent staff. Training on subjects such as bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and ICT acceptable use is one of the most effective ways to mitigate workplace misconduct by third parties and provide a key defence strategy when misconduct does occur. It also makes you a good employer, more likely to attract top candidates and realise business goals.

How to get started

In order to make third party compliance training normal practice in your organisation, start by conducting a risk assessment, then develop a business model that includes the implementation of best practises. Try following these five steps:

  1. Provide third parties with clear codes of conduct and policies on behaviour, ethics and so on.
  2. Identify the risks associated with third parties and rank in priority.
  3. Complete all due diligence checks before engaging third parties.
  4. Continuously monitor third parties based on each individual risk level.
  5. Ensure all third parties undertake compliance courses (see more below).

It doesn’t have to be difficult

Quite simply, there needn’t be any additional risk if you ensure that everyone has been trained, and making this happen doesn’t need to be costly or time consuming. Yes agents and contractors can be hard to track down and identify, but a comprehensive delivery platform with trackable user history reports will ensure that you have precise records of all training undertaken by your staff. Failing to train your staff, contractors or otherwise, is a missed opportunity to significantly reduce risk and liability for your organisation.

Still getting your head around compliance training? Not sure how to deliver and monitor it smoothly? Contact eWorks for advice.

Harassment claim mitigation and trackability

Marlene Liontis, eWorks Accredited Consultant

Marlene Liontis is the Director of Lion Global HR Pty Ltd and one of the team of eWorks’ Accredited Consultants. Here Marlene talks about the importance of trackability and what’s at stake if we don’t bother with it.

Hidden risks you need to know about

Digital learning serves to enrich both the learning and development and compliance strategies of an organisation. How? By making tools and content easily accessible to every staff member, instantaneously. It is this seamless provision, however, that also brings hidden risks. Staff training is all fine and well, but if it isn’t tracked properly for auditing purposes, potential claim mitigation can become very tricky indeed.

Trackability – yes it’s a word

Compliance training, in particular, requires comprehensive trackability. No, I did not just make that word up. Trackability, as the word suggests, is the ability to track things – like having an audit trail. In order to avoid potential damages and liability, it is essential that compliance training has clear and distinguishable learner history reports. Take a sexual harassment claim, for example. If an organisation can provide a clear and traceable history of staff training, this evidence will have a significant impact on damages awarded in the event of a claim.

My organisation doesn’t need it, does it?

It sure does. Even organisations with visible and concise learning policies on topics like bullying, harassment, discrimination, acceptable ICT use, ergonomics, manual handling and so on, benefit from retaining precise information on employee training. What is the point of having your staff undertake all of this crucial training if you don’t keep a record of who has done what? Keeping accurate records of learning and development undertaken, and having it easily accessible through reports, will reduce potential claims, enhance and reinforce skills and establish and maintain a positive workplace culture.

Stop chasing and start leading

Comprehensive staff training is often the best defence against claims of this nature and can protect managers and supervisors from vicarious liability. Ideally, compliance courses should be undertaken by all staff on a quarterly basis. If this is not realistic, these courses should be taken annually by each employee, at a minimum. Why not consider making these courses part of your pre-employment contract? This will reinforce your organisation’s culture and provide additional protection from future potential claims.

Tracking made easy

eWorks’ world-class learning management platform, TVC Enterprise, clearly tracks and records each user and his or her learning history via a wide range of assessment, communication and collaboration tools. These reports provide a crucial history so that you can be confident that your staff training is up to date and therefore avoid potential claims and damages.

The good news?

All of eWorks’ courses are tracked via learner history reports. To find out more, simply ask.