Create an Executive-Friendly Learning Scorecard

Metrics can’t stop at the next level above the CLO. They have to appeal to the CEO.


Most chief learning officers have some type of learning scorecard. Three important trends create the need for an executive-friendly scorecard:

Most reporting has focused on input and reaction data, revealing program satisfaction. Scorecards failed to connect learning to the business.

CEOs want to see learning connect to the business; they want to see learning return on investment.

The learning scorecard is usually sent to the next level, usually the HR executive, and stops there. But top executives need this information because learning is vital to growth, and most CEOs approve the learning budget with input from others.

What follows is an executive-friendly learning scorecard, built around issues that will attract top executives attention. Most of the entries are self-explanatory, with some reporting on the inputs, the focus on the five outcome levels, and emphasis on reaching the higher levels to satisfy executives.

Level 1 is important but must attract executives’ attention. In this example, the perceived value index is a combination of relevance, importance and intent to use. More importantly, it includes questions for participants to indicate the extent that this program will influence the variety of important business measures.

Learning measures, Level 2, often vary by program. One or two measures are needed that apply for all programs, such as the two in the example.

More attention is placed on Level 3, which captures skills use, perhaps using the three measures indicated in the example and presented as an average. The top barriers are captured with a forced-choice option question each time there is a follow-up. For best practice, we suggest 30 percent of the programs be evaluated at this level each year.

For Level 4, the business link likely should be captured by using participants’ perception of impact. At Level 5, ROI studies conducted at this level are attached as a one-page summary. For these levels, report the percent of programs evaluated at each level. Sometimes the softer measures are captured when business linkage data are captured.

This executive-friendly approach shows more of the business connection, can be automated without much difficulty, and can generate substantial interest among executives. If you need more detail on how to develop this scorecard, please let us know.

Scoring Your Learning Program


  1. Programs conducted
  2. People served
  3. Hours per person
  4. Cost per person

1   Reaction

  1. Perceived value index (5-point scale)
  2. Relevant to my work
  3. Important to my success
  4. Intend to use
  5. Business impact linkage (5-point scale)

This program will influence: sales, cost control, productivity, quality of work, process times,
customer satisfaction.

2   Learning

  1. Percent of programs evaluated at this level
  2. Learning index (5-point scale)
  3. I learned the knowledge/skills in this program.
  4. I learned how to make this program successful.

3   Application

  1. Percent of programs evaluated at this level
  2. Application index (5-point scale)
  3. The extent of use
  4. Frequency of use
  5. Success with use
  6. Top barriers to learning transfer
  7. Lack of management involvement
  8. Not enough time
  9. No opportunity to use
  10. Didn’t have resources to use it
  11. Doesn’t fit our culture

4   Business Impact

  1. Percent of programs evaluated at this level
  2. Business impact linkage (5-point scale)

This program influences: sales, productivity, cost control, quality of work, process times,
customer satisfaction.

  1. Attach one-page summary of impact studies.

5   ROI

  1. Percent of programs evaluated at this level
  2. Attach one-page summary of ROI studies.


Top intangibles: brand, reputation, teamwork
and innovation.


Industry and professional awards


Jack J. Phillips is the chairman, and Patti P. Phillips is president and CEO of the ROI Institute. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com.


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