Measuring the ROI of Custom Elearning

Dec 11, 2020 | Learning, Featured

Overview:-  Custom elearning is costly but it is cost effective as well. Let Gerri Donohue, VP – Learning, Empro Insurance tell you how they create engaging content for their viewers that leaves them wanting for more. 

HCMG:- Hello, today we have with us Gerri Donohue from EMPRO. She’s an expert in the field of learning with a master’s in behavioral health. Gerri has been associated with EMPRO, initially Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurer for more than 25 years heading their Learning Initiative. She’s currently Vice President – Education with them. Hello, Gerri, thank you for joining us today.   

Gerri Donohue:- Oh, Chiya. Thank you so much for inviting me. What a pleasure! I’m so looking forward to this interview. 

HCMG:- So, Gerri as you have extensive experience in learning, we would like to talk to you about ways in which organizations can measure the ROI of custom elearning solutions. What is your opinion about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of customized elearning content?  

Gerri Donohue:- Well, thanks for that question Chiya. Interesting question! I have a strong opinion about it, I really believe that nothing could be more effective. It’s spectacular how effective it is. I guess what we can consider is what’s competing against custom elearning would be off-the-shelf content and with off-the-shelf, there’s just a myriad limitation. We don’t have those limitations.  

When you work with custom elearning, you design the program, in every possible way that you wish it to be branded, to have the philosophy of your company there. You would decide every last word of the content. You’ll select the interactivities. This becomes something that you build up from scratch and the attachment that you have the comes from building that program. You get driven in such a way that you’re passionate.  

EMPRO insurance is a medical malpractice company, so all of our learners are physicians. We want to make certain that our physicians are never ever having information given to them that would waste their time for a moment. We’re under the auspices of a regulation. So, our content must be X number of hours long. And for those hours that we have our physician learners, we want to make the best use of their time. It’s possible. Every time a physician comes to us, we run the programs and cyclically, we want to make sure that they get a brand-new program that has a brand-new look and feel every time. Our philosophy pretty much stays consistent over time. So, when they’re going to come in, they should to recognize that. They will feel ‘I’m going to learn different concepts in this program from what I learned in the last program.’  

As you can see, I’m a great proponent of custom learning. I think it’s phenomenal. And I don’t want to, in any way, put down off-the-shelf learning because there is a place for that. It has a place in generic content, like cybersecurity or perhaps infection control, where there’s no philosophy but is factual and needs to be delivered. And there’s a bit of an opportunity to maybe lower the cost slightly, because they’re developing programs for the masses. Why would we ever want to take a program off-the-shelf that’s been developed for the masses? For our physicians, we want to only give them that which is tailor-made. And our feedback from our physicians is that they feel it. They feel that they are closer to us and that we’re really in a partnership together as a result of going through a program, that they can feel the philosophy of their insurance carrier. 

HCMG:- Wow, that’s quite a perspective. So of course, it is not only that the that the program becomes more relatable to the audience. It’s also, like you said, building in the sensitivities and the interactivities, exactly as you need them to be. So, of course that customization helps to make the program a lot more relatable, I’m sure. 

Gerri:- Absolutely. 

HCMG:- So, what are the steps to measure the ROI of such content? 

Gerri:- Well, I think that what we look at are two different areas when we’re looking at custom elearning and consider the effectiveness of the return on investment. We’re looking at performance actually within the program, as well as evaluations. So, in terms of performance within the program, we have polling features and we have knowledge checks. As the physician is going through the program, we’re getting indicators whether or not this teaching is effective and how are they doing in the program. 

We very much like Narrative Medicine, which is like this, look and feel or stop and think program. They have an opportunity to digest somewhat of a heavy, sometimes philosophical question, and then write in a journaling kind of manner. And we can see how our physicians write and write, in this open-ended writing experience from which we know that probably we’re on the right track.  

In terms of evaluations, we evaluate our physicians at every program, and it’s a detailed and lengthy evaluation. We want to know exactly what was helpful, and if anything was ever not helpful. We also want to know if it will stick for three months or six months from now? Is it still with you? So, we provide surveys on a regular basis, multiple months after physicians taking the course. When you look at the return on investment, we have very, very high scores. That what you have been offered in terms of compensation for developing the program was very, very well utilized. 

HCMG:- So, it’s a qualitative and quantitative return that you’re getting. 

Gerri:- Exactly, we need to balance the two. 

HCMG:- Right? Thank you. But why is measuring the ROI of your custom elearning solution important for a company’s Education Strategy? 

Gerri:- Well, you know, it’s prudent governance and leadership of our company as when they have determine the budget for you, for developing the education program, we want to make sure that the allowance we’ve been given, was well used. And often that pays dividends back to the company. It’d be our wish. Nothing would be making education calmer and happier.  

And then to know that what we’re offering to our physicians is resourceful information for them. It’s meaningful, relevant information, and we’re right alongside of them. We are also recognizing how we can align our learning needs for them with what their own unique learning needs are for themselves.  

I think our leadership is quite happy. Because I don’t want to overstate it, but we oftentimes get evaluations that just like, shoot off the scale. And we’re very proud of that. But I feel I have a need to be humbler while talking about it.  

I must say, the last program that we had was called ‘Demystifying Medical Malpractice Litigation’. We had never in the history of running programs since 2003, had such outrageously outstanding evaluations that happened to be produced by our team. There was GCube and though we were very far apart geographically, but you would never know it as an education team. We work beautifully together.  

And we were so bursting with pride that our physicians receive their program, so well. And they actually will say, ‘What is EMPRO going to have up their sleeve next?’ They can’t wait sometimes to come to the next program. So, you can see the ROI when you have comments like that and thank you notes. Really outstanding evaluations! But I think our leadership believes that the return on investment is right there, it’s spot on. 

HCMG:- That must be so satisfying.  

Gerri:- It is, indeed.

HCMG:- Well, I hope you get many more reviews like that. I’m sure it adds so much more value to the program. Any advice for people who are looking to develop custom elearning content? Any helpful suggestions or tips on how to do it? 

Gerri:- Thanks, Chiya. You know, that’s a large question. And one of the issues with me is that I have such passion for custom elearning, that you almost have to kind of take a harpoon and pull me off to get me to stop speaking about it. One thing that I would say to you is, I think that one of the greatest gems of advice I could give to others, is be passionate. And if you’re not passionate, recognize this might not be for you. I think Mark Twain is attributed to this quote that ‘if you love what you do, you don’t work another day for the rest of your life.’ And I’m so blessed, I feel like that’s the position that I’m in.  

Education is all about people. Two things you need to know the people that make up your audience. And you know, need to know the people that make up your team. And you need to make sure that the people on the team are completely and 100% absorbed and pleased; and understanding the needs of your audience. And I think when that comes together, it’s a beautiful and perfect combination.  

Here at EMPRO, the entire Education team is passionate. I don’t know how that happened, but they’re all incredibly passionate. By passion I mean, nobody looks at their clock. Nobody cares about a break. Nobody cares if we work late or come in early on weekends. They don’t care because they love the work and the work is just so satisfying, gratifying, which I do not think it would be, unless our physicians loved it. Our physicians tell us all the time, how much they appreciate the work that goes into it. How much it was aligned with their own needs, how relevant and relatable it was. And when you hear that, what’s it going to do? It’s just going to fuel more passion. 

HCMG:- That’s fantastic to hear. Thank you so much Gerri, for making the time for us. And for being on We look forward to speaking with you again soon someday. 

Gerri:- I do as well Chiya. Thank you. Yeah. 

HCMG:- Thank you so much. 

Key Takeaway: 

  • Customization of learning content makes it precise.  
  • Drives curiosity among learners and makes learning engaging. 
  • Addresses specific learning needs.  
  • Understanding of audience is a must.  
  • Passion for creation builds great content.