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Calculating ROI for Microlearning

By Asif Rehmani
Updated October 15, 2023

I talk about various types of learning methods quite a bit in my work and the following question usually comes up:

How do I know if the learning we are providing our employees is actually paying off?

This is a perfectly legitimate question that we should be asking for any type of learning we provide to our employees. I mean why would you want to invest in something that cannot be proven that it's paying off right…?

Calculating ROI for a traditional Macrolearning event

Before we talk about ROI for Microlearning, let's start with Macrolearning first - for the sake of comparison.

How would you calculate a Macrolearning event like let's say a one full day synchronous training you conduct for your users on Dynamics 365, Teams, SharePoint or other Microsoft Office 365 apps?

Since Macrolearning is a one time event, you are calculating a one time cost and then determining its impact during a set period of time to calculate the return on that investment (usually within 1 or 2 months of the training event). As long as the return (benefit) of your total investment (cost) is greater than 100%, you come out ahead.

ROI formula for Macrolearning


The formula for calculating ROI of Microlearning

Since we at VisualSP deal specifically with Contextual Microlearning methods of training, we wanted our customers to understand the ROI of their Microlearning efforts.

Just to be clear, Microlearning refers to any form of short and concise content such as short videos, walkthroughs, tooltips, reference sheets, annotated images, etc.

The formula for calculating Microlearning is more complex because Microlearning is never provided in a one time event format. It's an ongoing effort where you are producing Microlearning content and your users are consuming that content within the flow of their work.

The easiest way to quantify the benefit of Microlearning is by calculating the time and money savings.

The time usually of the person who is struggling to find the answer And the time of the person who has to provide the answer to that person.

The money savings is calculated by understanding how much money is saved when you don't have to pay a support person to answer the same questions from users again and again and again (which by the way, no one likes doing anyway )

Having said the above, here are the formulas for calculating your ROI for Microlearning:

Lets look at an example of a company with 10,000 employees.

Microlearning assets accessed in 1 month = 5,000

Number of hours saved in productivity

(5,000 * 15) / 60 = 1,250 hours

Money savings in productivity

1,250 * $26 = $32,500

Dynamic presentation of ROI is key

Since calculation of ROI for Microlearning is a moving target, I believe it is of utmost importance to be able to have a dynamic presentation of the ROI. That's the only way you would be able to prove if your Microlearning related efforts are working or not.

In our VisualSP software, we calculate these figures dynamically so it's always reporting on the ROI for the contextual microlearning at the moment in time as shown below.

Presentation of ROI for Microlearning

Does the above all make sense? If not, let me know. I would be glad to explain the thinking here and would love to hear your feedback as well.


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