Learning's Dirty Secrets
Published: September 26, 2017

Author: Gerry Griffin, Skill Pill Founder

We need to come clean!

We know that there’s a problem with face to face learning; within 6 weeks the learner will have forgotten 85% of the information taught, which is a terrible waste. We also know that compliance learning isn’t the way forward; learners hate it, and it has resulted in ‘tick box’ exercises rather than a culture of compliance.

The solution could be self-service learning, but we know that without encouragement or chasing, not many people will look at it. Those that do are self-motivated and self-directed, and they are not usually the problem people in your organisation. 

The e-learning industry has colluded in this. Compliance learning has often had poor production values. It’s like prison food, if you have a captive audience, do you really need to bother with making it taste better?

And the commercial model? Sell as many ‘seats’ as possible. There is no reduction for lack of uptake. It’s considered to be not our problem.

But, here’s the thing. None of us like paying for things we are don’t use, and it’s the same for our customers. If the customer were to spend almost the exact same amount of money for only 50 licenses which all got used [rather than 500, with 450 unused], they would be far happier. We like to get what we are paying for.

Self-Service Learning

Recently, there has been a shift in learning from compliance and mandated content to self-service. This is empowering. But the passive ‘buffet’ of self-service content does not work. It needs to be packaged and retailed. It needs to be relevant to the digital economy.

Frequently we have written about the need for marketing communication manoeuvres when it comes to selling the availability of your learning. See here for example. 

At Skill Pill, we supply a marketing pack and a launch strategy to create a sustainable set of learning interventions.

The Cloud

With the ever developing “cloud”, the middle person is removed from the everyday transactions. Listening to music has moved to streaming services like Spotify where customers can listen to music on demand from their devices for a monthly fee. At the same time, unsigned artists are able to put their music onto Spotify without having to have a record deal.

Likewise, “YouTubers” don’t need a TV deal to amass a fan base, mansion and book deal. Instead they simply upload a video to YouTube and if they gain enough popularity they’ll get paid for their content, and might even gain sponsorship.

The cloud is ever moving towards a ‘pay as you go’ or ‘pay as you use’ subscription model. Instead of being tied down to contracts, you pay for the product you use. I could cancel my Spotify or Netflix subscriptions tomorrow with one click, if I wanted to.

The cloud is about disintermediation and subscription. The cloud means you don’t have to get locked into long term relationships, you get value for money, and if you don’t feel that you’re getting a fair deal you can opt out again. It puts the consumer in control of what they buy and what they use.

Producers behind cloud technologies can sometimes suffer as a result of this. Whilst the music industry as a whole continues to rake in billions of pounds in revenue, figures online suggest that the artist pay-out per stream on Spotify could be as low as $0.001128. That’s $1128 per 1,000,000 streams.

While on YouTube artists only receive $1 per 58 hours of music video viewed. That means they need 65,424 hours viewing to make the equivalent of 1,000,000 streams on Spotify. Compare that with the $3,334,000 that John Lennon made in 1966 (buying power in 2016: $24,843,000) and well, it’s peanuts.

Taylor Swift herself, whose latest single "Look What You Made Me Do" sold close to 200,000 copies in a day, famously refused for her music to be put on to Spotify or Apple Music until the artist pay-out was improved. In this way, the money in the industry has significantly shifted, along with the way that people in the industry operate.

So, what does that mean for us? At Skill Pill we are looking at new commercial formats such as pay-as-you-go and subscription models to ensure we continue to deliver value for money. 

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