Guiding Principle 12 states, “The results from the ROI Methodology must be communicated to all the key stakeholders.” After determining the ROI and BCR for the GE learning initiative, it was critical to communicate those results to key stakeholders who influence the availability of resources to continue the program. Without communicating the results of the study, there is a very high risk that in a budgetary downturn the program could be cut because key stakeholders were unaware of the impact of the program. Putting together an effective communication plan required the following elements:

O Communication had to be timely.

O Communication was targeted to specific audiences.

O Media used were carefully selected.

O Communication was unbiased and modest.

O Communication was consistent.

O Testimonials were more effective coming from individuals the audience respects.

O The audience's opinion of the learning and development staff and function had influence on the communication strategy.


This case study has demonstrated that by using a disciplined comprehensive approach to evaluating the GE online ESL program, it is quite possible to make a strong qualitative and quantitative case for investing in this learning intervention. The ROI Methodology approach has provided valid and persuasive tools and methods to tease out the financial impact, specifically the ROI, of implementing the program. The added rigor, discipline, and operating standards brought to the evaluation process helps to insulate the program and the study from critics who use subjective criteria to attack the value of the program. This process moves the entire evaluation methodology for learning programs from a soft, subjective assessment to a concrete, comprehensive, and objective analysis of the impact of the program on learner performance and company business results. These are very powerful tools for learning professionals to support their recommendations for investments in future technology-based learning programs.


1. Are the results of this study credible? Explain.

2. Although participants are guided to think of program evaluation as including five distinct levels, for reasons of practicality, this study clearly combined the qualitative aspects of Levels 1, 3, 4, and 5 into one survey tool. Is this acceptable? If so, why? If not, why not? 3. Why is the chain of impact so important in a study such as this one?

4. An important part of this ROI case study was the ability to determine an increase in workplace application of improved English-as-a-second-language (ESL) skills by using percentages of time and converting those percentages to dollar values. Were there other methods one could use to determine the financial impact of new ESL skills? Please explain.

5. How might the ROI process in this case study be improved?


Phillips, J.J. (2003). Return on Investment in Training and Performance Improvement Programs. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Phillips, J.J. (2006). Return on Investment Measures Success [Electronic version].

Industrial Management, 48, 2.18–23.


Edward (Ed) P. Nathan PhD, CRP, CPT, has over 25 years' experience in global learning and development. Having worked in more than 40 countries with global companies such as Pfizer, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Lederle Laboratories, and Walmart, he has conducted research in developing global e-learning programs and measuring the ROI of online ESL learning.

Nathan earned his PhD in education with a specialization in training and performance improvement from Capella University. He holds a CRP (Certified ROI Professional) from the ROI Institute and a CPT (Certified Performance Technologist) from the International Society for Performance Improvement. With numerous papers published, over a dozen conference presentations, and two textbook chapters, he is currently working on a book focusing on the use of organic learning methodologies in the classroom. Properly applied, these methods help facilitate learners' self-mastery of complex business and academic processes. He makes his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >