Last updated: 05.01.24

How to Measure the Success of Learning and Development in the Workplace


Learning and development (L&D) play a significant role in helping foster a culture where employees can grow and develop their skill sets in the workplace. 

There’s a lot of evidence to demonstrate the importance of learning and development at work, including that 4 in 5 employees would remain in their current role with their employer if they were offered regular learning and development opportunities.

Employers offering learning and development opportunities help to satisfy current employees, attract future talent, and even reduce staff turnover. But, for businesses to continue to reap the benefits of learning and development training, it’s essential to measure its success to see if it’s a worthwhile investment or if changes need to be made.

A learning management system (LMS) provides a valuable structure for development programmes but also allows the organisation to measure the effectiveness of its overall strategy. By introducing a dedicated LMS, employers can maximise the chances of their investment in training delivering results. 

In this article, we delve into how you can measure the success of learning and development in your company by implementing a thorough strategy adapted to your business goals and understanding the indicators of success so that you and your employees can reap the rewards of learning and development at work. 

Why is Learning and Development Important in the Workplace?

Learning and development are critical in workplaces. According to research, 92% of employees believe that learning and development opportunities are a deciding factor when choosing an employer. Further data highlights that four-fifths of employees are likely to choose their employers based on the L&D opportunities that they offer. 

Given that the worldwide number of employees has risen by around 1.1 billion between 1991 and 2023 alone, according to reports, employers must offer the learning and development opportunities that the workforce needs to grow professionally. Not only this, but offering learning and development opportunities will benefit businesses directly, helping them to attract candidates and retain the best talent in their workforces.

Why is it Important to Measure the Success of Learning and Development at Work?

Measuring the success of learning and development at work is crucial to ensure that both your employees and your business are getting the most out of these training opportunities. It will also help you to identify where there are gaps in your employees’ skills and knowledge, helping them to develop professionally, be more productive, and help your business operate more successfully.

By measuring L&D training effectiveness, your employees can see exactly what they have achieved from the learning and development that they’ve taken part in. This reveals the progress they have made and creates a clear picture of what they need to achieve next to continue to grow. 

How Can Businesses Measure the Success of Learning and Development in the Workplace?

Training effectiveness is what you are measuring to see the extent to which your learning and development training is having a positive impact on your employees’ performance. Here’s how you can measure its success.

Using the Right Metrics To Assess Training

Having the appropriate metrics, or KPIs, in place to regularly measure performance and success is extremely important for businesses. It is one of the best ways to evaluate your methods and to ensure your organisation is achieving a satisfactory return on investment. 

These metrics can be quantitative or qualitative and companies can use many in combination to help measure and assess learning and development training effectiveness. Some examples of learning and development KPIs include: 

  • Average Completion Time: How long it takes to complete a training course. 
  • Learner Satisfaction: Gaining feedback from your employees about how they perceived the training to be.
  • Training Completion Rate: How many employees successfully completed a training course.
  • Assessing Knowledge or Skills: Testing your employees with assessments to see how much knowledge they have acquired from their training, or how their skill sets have developed.
  • Post-training Performance Evaluations: How employee performance has improved post-training compared to pre-training.
  • Training ROI: Calculating the ROI of your training just as you would in any other area of a business (Net benefit/ cost of L&D training x100) to see if your L&D training is worth the cost.

Other KPIs for learning and development include employee engagement and motivation, which are equally important to consider alongside the more quantifiable examples listed above. People who come out of training programmes feeling informed, inspired, and ready to work are likely to make a valuable contribution to an organisation in the long term.

Tracking individual performance, team results, staff retention and revenue growth can also offer some useful insights when measuring the effectiveness of learning and development initiatives. Results in these areas can then be measured against objectives established as part of an overall learning and development strategy.

How Do I Know If I’m Using The Right Metrics for Training? 

When deciding upon the KPIs for learning and development that you’ll be using, it’s important to consider which are best for your organisation. This can be done in several ways.

Discuss With Relevant Stakeholders

Other than talking with more senior members of your organisation, it’s important to chat with any of your stakeholders who may have a say in what L&D metrics you should be focusing on. This keeps all people involved in your business informed and involved when deciding on your learning and development metrics.

Consider the Learning Model You Apply To Your Business

Depending on the type of training you deliver in your business, whether it’s in-person training, remote training, or both, your learning and development metrics will be different. For example, virtual training taking an asynchronous approach will allow you to see the progress made by your employees and also valuable metrics like the time spent on certain modules. 

Define Your Goals Clearly

When evaluating L&D training effectiveness, you must consider your wider business goals, whether this is to improve the collaboration that occurs in your team or to increase revenue for your business. Whatever these objectives are, they need to be defined in advance to ensure that you’re using the best learning and development KPIs for your business. 

Evaluating Your Training Metrics and Results 

There are several credited methods of evaluating learning and development training in your business. One of the most popular is the Kirkpatrick Model, which rates the training received against four key points.

  • Reaction: Understanding the satisfaction and reactions of your employees through the use of surveys, questionnaires, or feedback forms.
  • Learning: Realising whether the training employees undertook was effectively learned by testing their knowledge using tests or assignments. 
  • Behaviour: Evaluating whether your employees are utilising the knowledge and skillsets they have acquired in a hands-on way in the workplace.
  • Results: Analysing whether any business objectives have been met as a result of the training. This may include costs being reduced, employee retention improving, increased sales, etc.

Another proven evaluation model that is often used by companies is the Philips ROI Model. As the name suggests, this involves looking at the cost of training programmes and weighing this up against the results they’ve reaped. It takes a similar approach to the Kirkpatrick Model, as it is a development of this, and evaluates the effectiveness of training using the following steps:

  • Reaction: Using surveys and questionnaires to gain employees' thoughts and responses about the training received. 
  • Learning: Completing a larger survey or test both before and after the training to compare whether the level of knowledge an employee has on a topic has improved.
  • Application and Implementation: Finding out through qualitative feedback how training can be improved in the future, giving you the reasoning as to why training may not have been well received. 
  • Impact: Analysing the impact of the training itself and its applicability to employee performance.
  • Return on Investment: Utilising a cost-benefit analysis approach to determine whether the training was a good investment and the monetary benefits it has on your business. 

How Can I Help Build a Successful Learning and Development Strategy?

Now that you understand the methods of evaluating learning and development and the KPIs you can use, you’ll need to know how you can help build a successful learning and development strategy. There are three key ways to do this, which we’ve outlined below.

Establish Success Criteria

Workforce training schemes should be driven by a clear and carefully thought-out strategy. Getting these plans in place first will help to ensure that there is a distinct purpose behind L&D training that feeds into an organisation's goals and long-term strategic ambitions. Problems the company has experienced in the past, or areas where clear improvement is required, could help to inform this strategy.

Learning and development plans should also be organised around criteria to define success. These benchmarks can provide crucial insights into whether workforce training is helping the organisation to reach its goals and deliver a satisfactory ROI. 

By regularly returning to these success criteria over a set period, a company can build an idea of whether its learning and development strategy is functioning well, or if there are changes required in how training is planned, designed, and delivered. 

Maintain Relevance Over Time

Learning and development strategy should not be viewed as something that is set in stone, but rather as a fluid, flexible concept that can be adjusted over time to reflect the wider business environment. Business challenges and ambitions will inevitably change as the organisation grows and evolves, so training methods must adapt as well.

The people responsible for executing a learning and development plan and delivering training should be given the ability to regularly re-evaluate their strategy and keep up with the latest thinking in this particular area of business.

Furthermore, keeping training programmes relevant and fresh will help to ensure that people are always learning new things to keep up with new workplace challenges, regardless of how long they have been in the workforce. 

This dynamic approach, combined with the identification and application of the strongest learning and development metrics, can help to ensure that your organisation is getting the best out of its workers and laying the foundations for long-term success.

Understand the Value of Microlearning

Micro-learning is a highly valuable tool which can have a profound positive impact on the effectiveness of training your employees. It allows people to not be overwhelmed by a wealth of new information, which minimises the effects of the forgetting curve so people are more likely to absorb and apply information learnt. 

You must ensure that the training you deliver to your employees is driving engagement and gaining their focus, which is why microlearning is so critical. 


What is the KPI for Training and Development?

As already addressed, there are several quantifiable and measurable metrics to analyse whether your learning and development training is effective. This will vary depending on your business goals and you’ll benefit from having these in place before deciding which metrics you’ll be implementing to evaluate learning and development effectiveness. 

What is Learning and Development?

L&D is used to help support an employee in their growth and development at work. It enables them to adopt the knowledge, skills, and expertise to perform better in their direct role and the wider business. 

What is a SMART KPI? 

SMART KPIs are often implemented in workforces, with SMART standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. They help to ensure that all KPIs are defined clearly and focus on an overarching goal or objective for the business. 


Measuring the success of learning and development training in your organisation can be executed methodically to ensure that you’re understanding the benefits that this can have on your employees and your business. Knowing how to measure the effectiveness of training is vital for your business’ success and your employees’ satisfaction, so we hope that this article has offered you the grounding of knowledge that you need to evaluate and analyse this effectively. 

Here at Virtual College, we offer a one-of-a-kind learner experience that drives engagement with microlearning and gamification, helping you to achieve measurable results in your business with learning and development courses. You can check out our range of courses on our website now.