The Metrics of Learning and Dangers of Multitasking

metrics of learning

The process of learning and why it’s so important

Learning isn’t as cut and dry as you might think. It’s not just reading a textbook, acing your test, and calling it a day. Hundreds of studies have been completed regarding how humans learn, process, and store information.

No long drawn out stories or irrelevant use cases here, just some fun with numbers regarding how we learn… or don’t.

Note the average reading speed is 200 words per minute. Let’s look at one of the best business books of all time, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. This book has 320 pages, or about 80,000 words, which takes 6.6 hours of reading to complete. Interestingly enough it takes 10.1 hours to listen to according to Audible.

Even if you have 6.6 (or 10.1) hours to read “Good to Great”, how much information is actually retained? How many details do you typically remember when you read a book? Probably not many (unless you read the book over and over again…). Studies show that you retain only about 60% of what you read. Hopefully it’s the 60% that is important to you.

How about another example:

Do you remember the 3rd grade? How about learning times tables? It takes about 180 days in the third grade to learn times tables…. and just a few hours of summer break to forget everything. But somehow, most of us will remember times tables for life; due exclusively to repetition and practicing. Yet as our brains get less pliable as we age we somehow think we have a greater ability to learn. That’s one of those things that makes me go hmmmm.

Without practice and reinforcement, we forget 80% of the content we initially learn.

Let’s transition to the business world. Say you’re in charge of training 100 salespeople at your company. According to a report by DePaul University,

  • The average length of a B2B salesperson ramp up time is 10 months.
  • The average cost per turnover according to a DePaul University study is $97,690
  • The same study showed that average turnover rates are 27.3%

Those numbers aren’t surprising considering your salespeople (and all other employees as well) forget 80% of what they initially learn from on boarding. Just cutting turnover rates in half in our scenario means losing 13.65 salespeople vs. 27.3. A not so meager savings of $1,333,468. And that doesn’t count the upside of sales attainment.

Without continuous learning and reinforcement, your employees and students will forget the most critical elements of their job that will help make them successful. It’s time to give them a tool that makes them want to learn and helps them remember the important information when they need it.

The Dangers of Multitasking and How it Relates to Learning

In the article 6 Scientifically Proven Brain Facts That eLearning Professionals Should Know author Christoforos Pappas writes, “A review of research studies related to learning techniques by John Dunlosky of Kent State University and a group of colleagues found that spaced learning, or distributed learning, was far more effective than studying or learning concepts in a shorter span of time.” He continues, “Multiple studies have also found that microlearning can deter cognitive overload, which occurs when the brain is forced to accept an abundance of data at any given time” [1].

mLevel’s platform uses microlearning to help users learn information in small bits. This makes information easy to take in with mental breaks between sections.

In the FastCompany article These Are the Long-Term Effects of Multitasking author Vivian Giang writes, “In theory, it seems like you’re getting more done, but since our brains aren’t built to constantly task-switch, we have what’s called “attention residue” left behind every time we go from one task to another.” She also notes, “A study at the University Of London found that subjects who multitasked experienced drops in their IQ comparable to someone who missed a night of sleep” [2].

We have a solution. mLevel’s award-winning learning platform boasts game-based activities which deter users from multitasking while they play the training games. In Pappas’ article, he writes, “According to a 2009 study that was conducted in Paris, the participants’ brains actually worked at half capacity when they were asked to multitask.”

Our game-based learning activities are proven to help users stay engaged. Pearson – a predominant education publisher who partners with mLevel to create engaging study tools – quotes one of their students,

“I can’t multitask when I am playing mLevel.”

College students voluntarily engage with mLevel learning activities for 88.39 minutes each. That is almost an hour and a half of voluntary, focused learning. Obviously Millennials (like the rest of us) just need the right tools.

While it’s great that students and employees are motivated to come back to the mLevel platform and continue to play engaging activities, it’s also important that they walk away with knowledge. We’ve found that users experience an 86% increase in knowledge retention when they use our platform over time. That beats forgetting 80% of what we initially learn.

But what about the investment?

budgeting for learning and development

According to TrainingMag [3], the average spend on training expenditures is $12.9M per year for large companies. The report notes, “On average, organizations spent 5 percent of their budget or $602,306 on learning tools and technologies.”

Continuing, “The highest priorities for training in terms of allocating resources in 2015 are: increasing the effectiveness of training programs, followed by reducing costs/improving efficiency, and measuring the impact of training programs.”

Did you know mLevel offers solutions to all three of those priorities?

  • Our microlearning and game-based platform is proven to increase retention, engagement, and knowledge
  • mLevel’s learning techniques will save you thousands due to effective learning at a fair pricepoint
  • Our analytics engine will show you the exact impact of your training initiatives

free mLevel trial

Amount of time it takes to start a 14-day trial with mLevel? 7.92 seconds.

Amount of time for you to become a hero at work for introducing mLevel? 2.7 days (on average)

Get excited – you’re about to save money, help your employees learn better, and improve the way your company works. Start your free trial now.