Jay Cross
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Assessing the Value of Learning
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Last week at Online Educa in Berlin, Brenda Sugrue, Tony O'Driscoll, and I led a session on Establishing the Value of Learning in the Workplace.

I contend the three major factors of value -- investment, return, and time -- don't hold still long enough to be useful metrics.
  • Google is worth $3 billion on the books. Investors value it at $125 billion. ROI ceases to have meaning when the "I" is funny-money.
  • Inflation used to skew the value of a unit of money over time. Now the units of time are no longer constant. The 21st century will contain the equivalent of 20,000 current years!
  • Return is tough to measure in a world where intangibles are worth more than tangibles. Everything's relative.
My solution is to pose decisions to a wise, skeptical avatar. If you can convince Andrew Carnegie a project is viable. go for it.

Brenda is senior director of research for ASTD. She presented the 2005 State of the Industry, a just-released review of trends in workplace learning & performance. Learning is broadening in scope and garnering more investment.

DSC02662Tony has spent the last year with IBM's Almaden Research Lab researching the value of learning. He described the findings of a study of C-level officer perceptions of corporate learning. The CxOs are strategic but most CLOs are still working in the trenches.


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