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How Do You Get The Biggest Bang For Your Development Buck?

Our Associate Director, Steve Harpum, shares his expertise on making sure you get Return on Investment when it comes to Learning and Development Training

We all know that training and L&D budgets are tighter than ever, and that we need to be able to justify every dollar, dirham, riyal or dinar that we want to spend on staff development.  Oakwood International has been delivering specialist CIPD, ILM and CIM qualifications throughout the Middle East for more than 16 years now, and we are being asked more than ever, “How can I know that I am getting the best value from my investment in L&D?”


We believe there are three simple tests you can use to be sure that you get the Return on Investment (ROI) that you are looking for.


First: decide what you want to achieve beforehand.  One of the questions we always ask prospective clients is why they want to study the course, and what do they want to achieve?  You might be surprised to hear that not everyone can answer this question straight away, but as the old saying goes, if you don’t know where you want to go, how will you know when you’ve got there?  So the first rule is to be clear about what it is you want and how you will measure that.  Many of our students come to us looking for a world-leading professional qualification to advance and improve their career prospects.  By knowing what it is they are looking for (the qualification) and why (to advance their career) we can be sure that we are offering them the right qualification or programme, and they will have the assurance of knowing that they have invested in the right development at the right time.


Second: measure by results.  Many readers will be aware of Kirkpatrick’s 4 Levels of Evaluation of L&D:


Level 1: Reaction.  Did the learner enjoy the training?
Level 2: Learning.  How much did their knowledge or skills increase?
Level 3: Behaviour.  How has the learner improved in the way they do their job?
Level 4: Results:  Has the learner performed better at work?


Now, it’s easy to measure levels 1 and 2, and level 3 can be done a short while after the course, but some people argue that you can’t really measure level 4, because there are so many other factors involved in performance at work.  However, here at Oakwood International we believe that it is possible to make a sensible assessment of the impact that targeted L&D investment has on performance, even if it is not possible to give a precise number.  Having first asked “What are you trying to achieve?” it becomes much more straightforward to measure results against that test.  If, for example, you have decided to study one of our CIPD Level 3 programmes in order to improve your HR skills and your promotion prospects, it becomes much easier to see whether you are getting the results you have identified.  Many of our students report very ‘quick wins’ in this respect, even before completing the courses: it’s easy to do better when you are armed with the latest skills and understanding.


Third: use a tried and tested provider.  Before spending your hard-earned training budget, or investing your own money in a training programme, there are a few questions we would encourage you to ask of any provider.  These could include: What is your accreditation? How long have you been delivering these programmes?  How well do you understand the local culture? What percentage of your students pass their courses?  How long will you support me for if I experience difficulties during the course?  You could also ask what previous students have had to say about the training provider.  By asking these sensible questions you can go a long way to be sure that you will be investing your money with someone who understands you, who will do everything they can to support you in your studies and who has stood the test of time.

Oakwood International is very much aware that you have a choice when making the important decision of choosing a training provider. Our student feedback tells us how highly we are thought of.  There are many more reasons to study with us and we would very much like the opportunity to discuss your learning needs. Our Programme Managers are eager to help you with all your enquiries. 

Please contact Oakwood to discuss how our CIPD qualification programmes can help you and your organisation.  We are also very happy to discuss consultancy or bespoke programmes to help your HR, L&D and senior management teams.


You can email us at: info@oakwooddubai.ae or call on +971 4 359 9020.

We hope that you have found this short article interesting and useful.  We’d be delighted to hear from you if you are considering investing in professional management learning and development and want to be sure you are spending your money wisely.