LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report found Learning and Development (L&D) has no standardized measure of engagement. The term sticky learning itself was coined to make sense of how knowledge retention works within L&D programs. In fact, a staggering 24% of L&D professionals don’t measure learner engagement at all. To measure the “stickiness” of learning, they rely on course completions and surveys.
Are course completion and surveys enough? Is there a better metric for engagement?
Software as a Service (SaaS) companies have become masters at measuring engagement through necessity. They need to keep customers on their platforms because lost customers equal lost revenue. And, they need to measure engagement accurately because if they don’t then they’re out of business.
How do SaaS companies do it? They aim to make their products sticky. They create stickiness and reduce churn in four major ways:
Learning and Development (L&D) can take a page out of SaaS companies playbooks by focusing on measuring the stickiness of their learning experiences, instead of the number of completions.
Generate Value for Sticky Learning
SaaS companies retain customers by delivering a valuable, relevant service.
As Unbounce found out, if your customers don’t find value, they’ll walk. In fact, 31% of canceling users cited under-utilization as their main reason for unsubscribing. Vendasta’s research on 100,000 small-medium sized businesses (SMB) suggests you’ll improve customer retention by 30% if you provide a relevant service.
Lesson from SaaS companies: You need to solve your customers’ pain points.
Training needs to be relevant to both your learner and your business to generate value.
How do you do this?
Lower Time to Value
Since many SaaS companies use a subscription model, customers can cancel at any time. By reducing the time it takes for their customers to see value from the service, they lower their chances of cancellation.
Vendasta suggests delivering clients performance metrics to show the difference your product is making in their lives. You want them to be able to easily see how their behavior has changed because of your product.
Lesson from SaaS companies: Use data to prove your worth.
New learning technologies offer a multitude of ways to collect data. How can you use data to tell a story that proves your value to your user?
Offer multiple products
SaaS companies routinely offer different products and subscription tiers to meet different customer needs.
Vendasta found if SMB used 4 products then they had a retention rate of 80% two years later, while users of one product only had a 30% retention rate, a great indicator of sticky learning. Similarly, Unbounce found roughly 20% of customers left because they found their product too complicated, lacking a feature of too expensive. Multiple products at different price points and difficulty levels could have solved many of these customers issues and helped Unbounce retain more customers.
Lesson from SaaS companies for Measuring Sticky Learning: Multiple products create stickiness by meeting varying customer needs.
Businesses often prefer to standardize e-learning to cut costs, but you can boost learner engagement by personalizing your course offerings.
Here are a few tips to get started with personalized training programs:
Frequent Engagement Leads to Sticky Learning
SaaS companies know stickiness comes from engaging their subscribers frequently, ideally daily. Companies aim to have 5 interactions within the first month and then once a week on. They found 26% greater retention if subscribers engaged weekly. Don’t forget, Unbounce discovered the most commonly cited reason for unsubscribing was under-utilizing the service or, in other words, not engaging frequently enough with the product.
Lesson from SaaS companies: Customers need frequent engagement to continue finding value in a subscription service.
Traditional L&D metrics like course completions or learner surveys often focus on one-time learning transactions. With new online learning technology, L&D can move beyond these metrics and into measuring stickiness.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Why should L&D change the metrics?
The most common L&D metrics reflect traditional L&D technology. How could you measure the stickiness of classroom training offered once?
Luckily, technology allows L&D to measure more than learner satisfaction and course completions.
Now, you can measure stickiness and optimize for it.
SaaS companies already know how to make online experiences sticky—L&D just needs to follow their lead. Here are the top four lessons from SaaS companies:
Any of these lessons will help improve the stickiness of your learning experiences. Which lesson do you think will work best for your business?
Try a demo today to find out how our cloud-based Learning Experience Platform, Fractal LXP, can help you make your learning experiences stickier.