Managers have employed ROI (return on investment) calculations to estimate the effectiveness of this or that program or project. At the same time, researchers argue that ROE (return on engagement) is as important and can be even more valuable in certain cases (Livingston, 2013). It is necessary to compare these two concepts to understand which of them is more applicable in the evaluation of a training program.
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ROI involves the analysis of monetary input and output, so-to-speak. Thus, the difference between the investment and the return (usually monetary) is seen as the indicator of the cost-effectiveness of a project (Tobin, 2009). However, Tobin (2009) notes that many projects involve various factors to be taken into account, and this is especially true for educational programs. The example provided by Tobin (2009) shows that ROI calculations are associated with certain limitations as they fail to include all the factors, and, thus, the exact benefit remains unknown.
ROE is seen as more effective as it involves the analysis of engagement, which is of paramount importance for the efficiency of a training course (Tobin, 2009). Clearly, employees engaged in a training course should be motivated and committed to gain knowledge and skills as well as apply them in their working setting. This commitment and engagement translate into specific results for the organization as the processes become efficient.
On balance, it is possible to note that ROE is a comprehensive tactic to evaluate the efficiency of a training program. It enables to estimate the cost-effectiveness of a particular project and, as such, to make it more effective if necessary. ROI is confined to monetary aspects that are only some of the factors contributing to the success or failure of a project.
Kirkpatrick developed a 4-level model of training programs evaluation. The author notes that effective evaluation should consist of the following stages: reaction, learning, behavior, and results (Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick, 2007). This model has been used extensively, but Phillips extended the process by adding the fifth level (Philips & Phillips, 2011). The researcher stresses that ROI analysis is also important for the evaluation process. More so, the researchers also adjusted the model and came up with another model of training programs evaluation.
Phillips program is grounded on the same principles as Kirkpatrick’s model. It is possible to note that it is deeply rooted in the conventional method developed by Kirkpatrick. However, it is also possible to add that it is more comprehensive and applicable to the contemporary business environment. The idea and the major goals of each level are the same in both models, but Phillips provided particular tools to achieve those goals while Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick (2007) provided only some recommendations on how to achieve the aims.
Thus, Phillips describes several methods to evaluate the progress during each stage. The researcher mentions such tools as self-reporting, observations, tests, and surveys (Philips & Phillips, 2011). The researcher developed the 4-stage model as the old one (Kirkpatrick’s) lacked meaningful details and tools. Phillips’ model can be easily and effectively applied in any setting. It enables managers to get quantitative and qualitative data on program efficiency.
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To sum up, it is possible to note that Phillips’ model can be regarded as a preferred strategy as it is easy to use. The researcher provides particular measures to evaluate the outcomes of any training program.
Kirkpatrick, D.L., & Kirkpatrick, J.D. (2007). Implementing the four levels: A practical guide for effective evaluation of training programs. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
Livingston, J. (2013). Content ROE: Strategies that lead to measurable outcomes. Web.
Phillips, J.J., & Phillips, P.P. (2011). Measuring ROI in learning and development: Case studies from global organizations. Danvers, MA: American Society for Training and Development.
Tobin, D.R. (2009). The fallacy of ROI calculations. Web.