mLevel’s Top 3 Learning and Development Lessons Of 2017

lessons from 2017

As a team, we’ve all expanded our knowledge over the last year, from how to make business more efficient, to learning new technologies, to hosting company-wide brainstorming sessions, to expanding our internship programs. But there’s one area where we are all still learning – and that’s in the field of learning itself.

At mLevel, we deliver an innovative platform to help others learn better, retain more information, and perform better on the job. Our job involves continuing to discover how people learn best and what truly makes a difference. Hear from a few of our team members on what they’ve explored about learning, microlearning, gamification, corporate challenges, and more in 2017.

From team member, Colin Daymude, Director of Product Marketing

Event-Driven Learning vs. Process-Driven Learning

My biggest take away from working with L&D professionals throughout 2017 is that learning is a process and not an event yet most training organizations don’t know how to bridge that gap.

First let me explain what I mean by “event.”

A training event is described as content that is delivered one time. That could mean Instructor-Lead Training (virtual or in person) in a workshop, on-boarding class, or eLearning module. An event could also mean a document or video that is sent in an email or content that is hosted on a website.

If you think back to your primary education days, there are some teachings that “stuck” with you forever (multiplication tables and grammar rules) and some that went in one ear and out the other (periodic table of elements) pretty quickly. There is a simple reason that some content stuck and some slid away: the content that stuck was repeated over and over and spaced between multiple sessions and even multiple years because it was important. It is very likely that that content was also delivered in multiple formats using gamification. The rest of the information was deemed “referenceable” and so was not repeated over and over.

In corporate training, I’ve found many of the business unit owners (sales, sales ops, operations, HR, compliance) wanted certain information to stick if it needed to be recalled quickly during critical performance moments like on a sales call, customer support or compliance determinations. Unfortunately, L&D doesn’t apply the appropriate “process-driven” training to the content to create long-term retention of that important information.

According to an article in the Neuroscience Leadership Journal, “Information and skills from events that only cover concepts one time have been shown to yield little long-term retention, even when quality and satisfaction ratings for the learning event are high.”

I love applying mLevel’s microlearning and gamification platform to create a process that optimizes traditional event driven training. L&D leaders are starting to understand the need but it will take a great deal of desire and initiative to bridge that gap. Good goal for 2018!

From team member Clinton Sorrel, Customer Success Manager

Learning Design

From what I have seen this year, the most common current challenge in learning design is making sure the efficiency of the content matches the current environment in which training is being delivered. In the past, a two hour long instructor led course or webinar gave trainers time to cover a wide variety of materials at once. Now, with shorter ILT time windows and modules that are sent directly to learners, instructional designers have to reflect on the desired outcomes of the training and be sure learners can dive deeply into that content.


In terms of integration, the most common theme is ease of access. Instructors do not want their learners to spend five minutes of their fifteen minute training window setting up an account or downloading a plugin to access their program – getting to the training needs to be quick and easy. As a result, you’re seeing a lot of work being done to enable single sign on, and if that isn’t possible then designers will give users preset passwords or a generic login so they can start their training right away.

Real Results

Most of all, I think customers want to see training produce real results as soon as possible. We used to look at our analytics and point at engagement as the key metric. Our KPI’s were favorable survey results, and a high number of average engagements per user. Now, there’s a lot more emphasis on seeing rapid improvement to make sure learner retention increases with those repeated engagements. The key statistic has shifted to making sure information retention per play increases as much as possible with the hopes that time to concept mastery can be improved.

From team member Jordan Fladell, CEO

Course Completion Isn’t the End – Learning From Athletes

It’s time for the education industry to catch up to the field of athletics when it comes to understanding the impact data can have on human performance. For decades, athletes have been using microlearning, technology, and data to train effectively and perform better. As a child I grew up with a passion and love for sports which led me to major in Kinesiology at the University of Maryland many years ago and is the jumping point for this blog post.

In 1989, technology in athletics was basically non-existent and the concept of studying the human body to drive peak performance was still in its infancy by today’s standards. For example, a lab study I did in college involved understanding the perfect release point from a pitcher to throw a curve ball at the optimal velocity and spin rate. My fellow students and I used a large video camera, notebooks and pens, a VHS tape recorder, and our own observations to complete the study. Then, we presented our findings to our presenter and baseball coach and all was done.

In today’s world, studies on the human body would be completed using a smart phone, tablet, and video editing software which would have allowed it to be delivered to each pitcher’s inbox within hours of completion vs having never been seen. These tools are being used everywhere from the household, to the local gym, professional and amateur athletics.

But in the field of education, data and technology aren’t viewed in the same light.

When a machine reports that I watched a video, it doesn’t actually know that I did. Either way, I get a completion credit. For too many years the standard measure of success in the classroom or the corporate arena has been course completion. Simply put, it is time for the test score to only be a measure of comprehension, not a measure of understanding. Why not apply the same technological and analytical standards to the learning industry that are already in place in the world of athletics?

It is time for all of us to unlock the power of data. It is time for us to evolve beyond participation and final score as the gold standard measurement for success. At mLevel we started addressing this issue by building a data-driven microlearning platform instead of adopting industry standards like SCORM. Today I remain convinced that this was the right approach.

Athletics had the objective right from the beginning. Can you imagine if the filter for inclusion in major league baseball was a written and oral test on the theory, history and practical application of the sport?

That sounds silly but it is exactly what is carried out in corporate America every day.

What we value at mLevel is the ability to help our clients, partners and other learners to be able to see what they do and don’t know in near real-time to truly help them impact their performance just like an athlete can. Athletes never stop training and getting feedback to improve their performance so when the big game arrives they are prepared for any situation. Our promise is to continue to innovate and invest in this area for companies and learners of all kinds.

What have you learned this year? Is there anything you think would be helpful for corporations as they continue to train and develop their employees?