Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ROI vs. IOB Update

So back in August I had posted about Timothy Hill's article on Impact On Business, or IOB. The primary thrust of the article was that CLOs require a means that can show how interventions - primarily training - impact business metrics. This is certainly no small issue in workplace learning and performance. At the time I was in the process of completing an ROI certification class as part of my ongoing Masters program (I'm still conducting the ROI study as it so happens). I was interested in reading the perspective of someone else on how to measure results, but after reading the article I wasn't clear on what was being offered exactly. After emailing Mr. Hill on his article and reading the IOB white paper, I was still left with a bit of confusion.

Fast forward to this month. I received an email from Patrick Devlin, VP of Sales & Market Development at Blackboard, and someone who reports directly to Mr. Hill. He offered to discuss IOB further by phone. On Friday last week Mr. Devlin and I had a good conversation about ROI and IOB, and what the effort behind the latter was looking to achieve. After defining ROI's methodology further, I think I was able to communicate ways in which ROI as a system behaves, and where IOB seems to parallel, in order to determine that intervention-results tie. Mr. Devlin was helpful in taking my questions, and in describing the efforts surrounding the development of IOB. I will say that I remain a bit unconvinced, but I will reserve judgment and keep my eyes open for future developments here. I think ROI is the solution system being sought in the end, which is why I remain skeptical but interested.

I contacted the ROI Institute for comment on ROI and IOB. Because of the holiday season I probably won't receive a response until after the new year. Rest assured, I intend to continue digging on this one.


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