Improve Your ROI in Your LMS with Microlearning.

By Chris Tandridge

Investing in an LMS is a considerable undertaking – of time, money, resources and effort. Understandably, organisations are looking for ways to improve the ROI on their LMS investment. If you’re one such organisation, microlearning provides a simple and affordable solution to help rescue your significant LMS investment.

Any organisation that has thought the purchase of an LMS was going to solve all their learning and training issues has probably already discovered that it is only a part of the solution, and not the silver bullet that was hoped for. The great weakness for any LMS is user engagement, and merely instructing or demanding usage has already proven to be a short-term solution for a long-term problem. Even those organisations that espouse values of, “it’s your career, manage it”, find that this approach only works with a small percentage of their population. And that is a number that is too often too low.

Then along came the pandemic …

Into this mix we find ourselves in a “new” environment. A post Covid-19 world where people are emerging from lockdown. They have spent so many hours online – working, communicating, entertaining themselves and yes, potentially even learning some things. But now they are free, they expect mobility, to be able to stretch and gain some of their old style of living back. And all this just places further pressure on those impressive LMS investments. So, let’s examine that a little more.

With people already contending with the normal pressures of life, on top of everything else, we now have to contend with working and learning remotely, and that adds further pressures and demands on everyone. We have had to find new ways of doing some things, and sometimes applying existing tools in different ways.

Applying old solutions has worked well in some circumstances, while in other situations, not so much. It has certainly been an opportunity to test, measure and learn. In our discussion here, let’s examine the use and application of the LMS in a bit more detail. Let’s try and answer the question “What have we learned?”.

You need more than just a “happy sheet” to measure ROI

Once upon a time, training delivery usually occurred in face-to-face environments. When we were all convinced that a good trainer could, and would, instil the required knowledge. We prided ourselves on attendance numbers and the “happy sheets” of contented attendees at the end of the event.

But there was a serious flaw in this process: we couldn’t really track what knowledge was actually retained by the participants, and therefore we never really knew what they were applying to their roles. And that had a direct impact on performance.

Real life example: was the audience really listening?

My example is drawn from those ‘distant’ days of a pre-pandemic world. A time when our client, like many, used their LMS to select and invite their participants for this “special” learning exercise. It was felt that they would be able to track and record attendance and learning outcomes and hence have visibility of knowledge levels.

Validity’s brief was to support our client’s (let’s call them “Client X”) sales team in the way they engaged with a major customer (let’s call them “Customer Y”). We arranged a Special Client Session, inviting 30 senior salespeople from Client X, and a senior company executive of Customer Y.

We wanted this group of Client X’s senior salespeople to gain a sense of what Customer Y actually and honestly thought of them as a supplier. Plus, how they could better service Customer Y and, more importantly, win more business.

The brief to the guest from Customer Y was simple: “Please be completely honest. Don’t hold back; tell them exactly what your perceptions are, and what you are looking for from a supplier. Obviously, don’t be rude but your honesty and candour will be of enormous assistance to them and if they get it right, it will be of great importance to you guys as well.”

How it played out was very interesting and revealing!

True to our instruction, the guest from Customer Y did exactly as asked. They explained all the things that this sales team did; all the things that they liked, and all the things that they didn’t. They explained how their business had changed – and was continuing to change – hence they needed different support and a different level of engagement. In all, it was a fabulously honest and open session. It allowed that senior executive of Customer Y to make it abundantly clear – This is what we, your customer, want!”.

All that was required of the Client X audience was to listen and respond to the wishes of Customer Y. It really was an instruction on how to be successful.

Immediately following the presentation, very few questions were asked by the Client X audience. The guest from Customer Y was duly thanked and left the meeting. I had sensed that the tone of the room had dramatically shifted during the presentation and, whilst they remained polite when the customer was in attendance, you could see that the people in the room were far from happy.

After the customer had left, the room erupted.

They had felt attacked…

They saw their customer as ungrateful…

Their customer didn’t understand their problems and issues….

How dare the customer respond that way…

After all we have done…

That’s it! I don’t want to work on that account ever again…

Pandemonium broke out! We had lit a fuse of emotions, but not the one we had anticipated. To say they were defensive just isn’t strong enough. These people were angry, and I mean really angry, at their customer.

Client X had been handed a golden opportunity, but did they use it wisely?

As you have no doubt recognised while you read this, you know as well as I do that the information supplied by Customer Y was gold. The customer was making it abundantly clear what they required and were even giving Client X the opportunity to adjust and to solve the issues that Customer Y was dealing with. Do that and we all win. Right? Completely simple, or so we thought.

So, what happened? While Client X retained the account, the learning experience proved to be extremely challenging for many. It required a change in behaviour that not everyone was ready for. Even after being handed the roadmap to success, they needed a great deal of support in attempting to make that transition. Which then poses the following for consideration:

Despite receiving clear direction from Customer Y as to what changes they should make to solve the customer’s issues, why did Client X reps resist making the change?

And if they resisted change when presented with such a clear roadmap to success, how much change could be expected in their approach if we rely solely on the reps completing any course delivered in their LMS?

Indeed, in this example, how could we accurately reflect the learning outcomes? Sure, the LMS would show attendance and participation in the event, it would even show completion, but what was really learned? What would and could be applied to the business?

Those were discussions I used to have all too often in my corporate career. Attendance and participation rates don’t impact on the business. Proficiency is what counts and unless you can measure that, you don’t really have the data you need.

And finally, one of the key takeaways for Client X was, do we have the right people in these sales roles? That is a separate discussion piece that we will look at some other time.

The first step for success is to listen

Let’s fast forward to the world of today. The world has changed enormously, as we all agree. Organisations that have changed – and successfully adapted to change – are the ones that not only listen, but who actively respond to their customers’ needs. As a result, they are making a real difference. They are the ones succeeding.

Here at Validity Group, we take a very active position of listening and responding to our clients’ needs with solutions that will solve their very real issues. Our approach is to actively listen to the challenges that our clients have, and to determine how best we can support them. In brief, we encourage everyone to be an active listener.

We have a perfect example that we recently demonstrated with the release of EPOP™ – our single assessment that evaluates a candidate against six roles (as featured in Yahoo Finance, News Today, and many more and on the Dow Jones and Bloomburg terminals). That came about as a result of listening to Business and HR Leaders about what would help them most. The Express POP™ is now supporting a broad range of businesses across various industry sectors, because we listened and responded to their needs.

… and the key is to make it easy

The request from our clients was that they wanted one assessment to compare candidates, both internal and external, to six different roles across the organisation. They agreed that a form of “tunnel vision” had developed across organisations. They had developed the habit of employing someone in a role – say a sales role, therefore the entire trajectory of that career is aligned to sales. Now obviously that is neither reasonable or fair to the employee, and it might be one of the reasons organisations lose good people. If employees can’t change the direction of their career because they have been pigeonholed, then they have no choice but to leave. What a waste of talent. Now with the Express POP™, organisations can identify various career options that the individual would be best suited for.

We have now taken another step forward in that direction with microlearning. We did so because our clients shared their challenges, and we were able to solve the issues that they faced with our chosen microlearning partner (more on that later).

Engagement levels with an LMS can be as low as 15%

The challenge that clients face is the disappointing engagement levels with the LMS. As a reservoir of courses, learning materials and content, an LMS is a pretty good solution. It allows individuals to access a broad range of training and learning content. Similarly, managers, Human Resources, and Learning & Development can review and monitor what has been delivered to who, how, and when etc. The challenge is, and always has been, engagement levels.

In a previous career, I used to sell an LMS solution for a global IT company, so I am fully aware of both the benefits and the shortcomings of an LMS as a sole solution.

To be blunt, numerous reports from our clients show that users generally don’t engage with the LMS platform. Numbers of 15% user levels are most commonly shared, and that is an issue of very real concern.

Business leaders can and should question their investments in any platform that only has that level of engagement. Not just an LMS, but any platform. The investment of company funds should deliver an acceptable ROI, and a 15% return on that level of investment is obviously not a success.

Discussions with our clients have been around “how can they rectify this problem?”, “how can they rescue their LMS investments and deliver the busines outcomes and results that were sought in the first place?”. In short, how can they solve their user engagement problem?

The answer is microlearning.

Improve your ROI in your LMS investment before it’s too late

Our recommended and proven solution is to use Qstream’s microlearning platform to deliver the content. Qstream constantly demonstrates average engagement levels of 93%, and that changes the dynamics of the outcomes to a significant degree. This level of engagement is common with Qstream, as is repeatedly reported by clients.

Any content can be delivered via Qstream, regardless of the subject. Using Qstream as the first delivery mechanism encourages high engagement and participation levels, and that far exceeds the LMS experience.

Plus, as the balance of the Qstream microlearning program rolls out, participants remain engaged as their knowledge is reinforced through Qstream’s spaced delivery of bite-size chunks of information. Interacting with Qstream only take a few minutes a day on average, and participants enjoy the friendly competition as they and their teammates vie for top spots in the fun leaderboard competition.

But wait, there’s more – you can also manage internal certification records via Qstream

We know Qstream’s science-based microlearning methodology from Harvard ensures that participants really do know the content. It also has micro-certification capability, so you can generate a Qstream Certification – Qcert – based on pass/no pass rates. And you get to set the pass levels, by subject – meaning you can set them at any level as required by the business.

Qcerts can be shared directly with your LMS and the learning records maintained there. We often find ourselves building a simple integration for clients between Qstream and their LMS, or their HCM (Human Capital Management) system, or their CRM. In other words, wherever they wish to keep and maintain the data for company consumption. And of course, users can similarly access their learning progress as they normally would.

Better engagement equals better insights and outcomes

The user experience of Qstream’s microlearning solution has always been very positive. No matter the country, the industry or the subject, Qstream has always enjoyed extraordinarily high levels of engagement. Just one of the many reasons why users enjoy Qstream is because of the way in which the content is presented – ‘in just a few minutes a day’. It is non-disruptive and respectful of time. This is important as people like that the information is supplied in easy-to-consume bite-size segments. All of which translates into success because we are very conscious of, and respond to, the busy lives that everyone leads these days.

Microlearning should be fun and supportive

The simple elegance of Qstream and how it engages people is one key element of its success across industry sectors and across geographies. Its adoption to solve this major challenge yet again proves that Qstream is a straightforward, affordable and easy solution to apply.

These are just some of the reasons why more and more people are using Qstream in conjunction with their LMS to deliver on organisational performance.

I would encourage everyone to review and recalibrate how they are delivering training across their various audience groups. Qstream continues to lead the field in microlearning, and now we can add to that success with content delivery.

Why not see for yourself and request a demo so we can start the rescue of your LMS investment today?

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