03 September 2018

The ROI of Microlearning: No Small Thing

Digital Immersion / Microlearning
ROI of microlearning


Declan Mulkeen

Bigger is often cited as being better. But it is not always the case. The latest exciting trend in corporate training would suggest that in fact smaller can be better and more profitable. How? Quite simply by changing your corporate training programs and investing in microlearning can deliver a higher return on investment (ROI). The ROI of Microlearning can be measured by standard financial and learning KPIs as we set out in this Insight.

What is microlearning?

Let’s start with defining what microlearning is. Microlearning is a short, focused learning format designed to meet a specific learning outcome.

It uses multimedia formats like animated audio enhanced slideshows, mini-webinars, video clips or animations.

It’s a learner-centric approach that provides just-in-time training, mainly digested via smart devices.

Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning
Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

Microlearning is easy to access, quick to complete and helps professionals to apply their learning as it is often delivered during a normal working day.

It usually comes in a 3-5 minute package and while it often utilizes a more informal training style, the impact on efficiency as well as the ROI of Microlearning is massive.

Micro size, micro priced

If you are measuring the success of Microlearning against your business P&L, here are some relevant factors that make it a step in the right direction to increase your business profitability.

Bite-sized learning courses can be produced faster and at less cost than traditional courses.

Thanks to their modular structure, it’s easier and less time-consuming to roll out microlearning courses.

Your spend on resources is immediately reduced. There’s no need to pay for the instructor’s time, buy or rent physical classrooms and pay for the utilities, and spend money on classroom equipment.

It is easier and less time- and resource-intensive to update digital information than reprint training manuals and conduct supplementary classroom training sessions.

Further reading

While microlearning is not a new concept, it is now recognized as an effective approach to train your workforce. Although the idea of breaking down content into chunks has existed for a long time, we are seeing an increased focus on microlearning as a significant part of corporate training delivery.

Here are 5 more ‘top line’ benefits of microlearning-based training:

1. Less time-consuming

Microlearning sessions take up less of the Modern Learner’s precious time. The clue is in the name, but quite how much less time needs to be dedicated to learning a new idea is startling.

Training days often last 6 hours while a burst of microlearning is usually around 5 minutes.

Due to the short training duration, microlearning costs are lower than traditional eLearning. Microlearning content can be created and deployed much quicker than traditional eLearning.

2. Fire your travel agent

Your entire sales team need to attend a training session and they work all around your global region. Getting them together is a logistical nightmare and very expensive. While they are all sat in a room being trained they are also not dealing with prospects and clients. All this costs a lot of money.

Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning
Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

The ROI of Microlearning is high because it does away with much of the travel time required for training and puts the training in the learner’s hands. Literally.

3. Less expensive to develop

Microlearning content takes less time to develop.

Microlearning courses are the perfect solution to companies’ need to create effective e-learning materials quickly, in a cost-effective manner.

Bite-sized online training modules can be developed faster and cost much less than conventional, hour-long e-learning courses.

4. Keeping it fresh for less

Microlearning’s bite-sized ‘nuggets’ of L&D gold can be tweaked, updated or corrected very quickly to enhance their impact or adjust their content to stay relevant. This ability to be agile and adapt quickly, at low cost, is yet another boost to business profitability, again, by keeping costs down.

5. Beating the Ebbinghaus Curve

Our ability to memorize highly technical knowledge can only be boosted by repeated “practice”, leading to an increased ability to remember.

Research also shows that when we repeat information well, with timed intervals between, we actually create new learning pathways, just the same way we learn certain “on the job skills” through practice, repetition, and continuous questioning about why something didn’t work.

Further reading

The result? Performance gain and increased productivity.

Increased profitability is an inevitability

It’s quicker to develop, less expensive to change, takes up fewer employee hours by filling in the gaps in working day, and its impact on knowledge retention is remarkable. That last point alone will save you time and money on additional training, retraining, and substandard performance due to missing competencies.

Demonstrating the ROI of Microlearning is almost as easy as experiencing one of its famous 5 minutes nuggets. It’s not a case of “if” you adopt Microlearning as an L&D strategy for your business, it’s a question of when you make what is an inevitable change. It’s just good, cost-effective business common sense.

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