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How to Know If You’re Getting the Best Value From a Learning Provider


Fri Jun 04 2021

How to Know If You’re Getting the Best Value From a Learning Provider

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As much as we would like them to, L&D budgets don’t stretch infinitely. As a result, value is often a hot topic in L&D circles. Getting the most for your money is crucial to maximizing the impact of your learning content, which is often easier said than done. So, how do you know if you’re really getting value from a learning content provider?

Price is a factor, but the true value of a learning provider goes deeper than surface-level costs. Many different types of value are available, and what you choose will depend on your organization’s goals and your learners’ needs.


To help you optimize the value out of your L&D strategy, we’ll look at techniques to assess L&D’s value before exploring ways to evaluate different learning providers. For starters, price is always a factor. Accordingly, it is a good idea to consider a range of options to ensure you are getting the best value for money. Here are other important criteria to consider when assessing L&D’s value.

Business Value Versus Learning Value

In recent posts, we have discussed learning value versus business value. According to learning strategy expert Michelle Ockers, “L&D continues to struggle to create value. One significant reason for this is that L&D has focused on the wrong kind of value—learning value—rather than business value.”

If you need a quick refresher, learning value focuses on principles such as activity, engagement, usefulness, and efficiency of learning, whereas business value relates to aspects like performance and culture. Homing in on business value means aligning L&D with broader organizational goals and objectives.

Focusing on business value rather than learning value also is an excellent way to ensure you are getting maximum value from a learning content provider. A report from Emerald Works, 2020 Back to the Future, shows the benefits of prioritizing business value and found that only 28 percent of L&D teams say their people appreciate the value of learning to the business.

In contrast, this figure skyrockets to 81 percent among high-impact learning cultures, defined as the top 10 percent of surveyed respondents. The most successful and impactful L&D teams prioritize business value and reap the rewards.


How Does L&D See Its Own Value?

2020 Back to the Future offers a few key insights into how L&D teams view their value. For example, only 55 percent of learners feel their contribution is valued by their organization. If nearly half your learners don’t feel valued, then it’s safe to say that you are not getting the best value out of your learning strategy.

Further, a third (32 percent) of L&D teams say their managers recognize the value of on-the-job learning (compared to 88 percent among high-impact learning cultures). Perhaps most notably, just 28 percent of L&D teams say they deliver “greater value for money” (compared to 55 percent of high-impact learning cultures).

Here are five ways to assess the value of your L&D strategy:

  • Prioritize business value over learning value.

  • Consider various platforms and approaches to learning to ensure you are getting the best value for money.

  • Focus on getting internal buy-in when evaluating different learning providers.

  • Ensure the provider offers a satisfactory after-sales support service.

  • Make sure your learners feel valued! According to Emerald Works, only 55 percent of learners feel their contribution is valued by their organization.

Evaluating Different Learning Providers

Evaluating different learning providers can be a tricky process. How can you be certain one will provide more value than another? The first step of this process should be evaluating your learners’ needs. After all, it’s no good settling on a learning provider if their content doesn’t match what your learners need.

Once you have a solid understanding of what your learners need, there are several other important considerations. Does your learning provider offer a high-quality-after-sales service? Are you prepared to manage several contracts and relationships with multiple providers, or would a centralized learning library be more suitable? Are you getting the best value for money? How will you get internal buy-in?


This last point can be particularly tricky. As we know, 40 percent of L&D teams still feel executive buy-in is missing from their learning strategies, with Go1’s 2020 State of Learning Report calling executive buy-in “the final hurdle” for L&D teams. Adopting a business value mindset can help by demonstrating L&D’s value to the organisation in a way that encourages executive buy-in.

Evaluating different learning providers is a balancing act. It is crucial to find an appropriate balance between value for money, fulfilling your learners’ needs, and meeting broader organizational goals.

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