Learning Franchises: An Evolution in Positive ROI

This day and age, CEOs and other executives are faced with many challenges from finding and retaining talent, to updating ways to analyze and implement financial goals and objectives, to being responsible for instituting training that is both cost effective and practically efficient. For an L&D department, the challenge is to continually liaise with multiple areas of the organization, as well as learning constituents, all while assessing training impact and creating new and innovative ways to present engaging content. In a 2015-2016 report, Top Insights for the World’s Leading Executives, CEB Inc. discovered that nearly 70% of the money that organizations spend on training is going to waste due to low quality scrap learning, redundancy, or simply out of date content that no longer meets the organization’s strategic priorities, and CEB summarizes that the solution to this loss of money and impact is to create “learning franchises.”

As we well know, the effects of low-quality, out-of-date, ineffectively redundant learning has a profound effect on both an organization’s financial bottomline as well as the levels of engagement, enjoyment, and retention of learning content. If the training content has little or no impact on job performance, and is tolerated rather than appreciated, organizations are losing money, time, and efficacy left and right. While in some cases redundancy is appropriate, especially when it is strategically laid out to aid in learning retention; general redundant scrap learning is not only boring, but unfavorable and untenable.

One way to get a handle on what is really happening in the L&D arena that can span multiple locales and platforms, is to ask for Big Data’s help. Big Data is the collection of learner data generated while interacting with the learning content and process via the Learning Management System. By using these Big Data analytical tools, L&D professionals can better benchmark, communicate, and predict the impact of learning solutions. CEB shares:

Armed with these insights, all L&D suppliers work together to identify the most critical learning priorities, set learning standards, and improve the organization’s L&D capabilities. The payout to this approach is huge: organizations that manage their L&D investments strategically with analytics that lead to actionable insights:

  • Reduce the average rate of scrap learning from 45% to 33%,
  • Cut their total wasted L&D spend by an average of US$6.9 million, and
  • Improve L&D’s impact on employee performance by as much as 20%.

So, what is a Learning Franchise? Think of any franchise from Chipotle to Apple’s brick-n-mortar stores, they operate with a core set of conventions, flavors, tastes products, environments, and branding. A learning franchise, as applied to learning solutions, is the meeting and coordination of all of the areas of learning — on the front lines, in digital spaces, on social media, and in the classroom. The learning goal is for content to be delivered with a united and cohesive front so that the “customers” of the learning experience consistency with mutually agreed-upon outcomes devised by each partner, “franchise owner”, and the head L&D headquarters. All of the partner groups and departments assess and work together to deliver training that is new, relevant, and effectively measured across the access points of information.

In an article by the Association for Talent Development, “Build a Learning Franchise to Reduce Wasted Learning,” the authors share, “The best thing about learning franchises is that they really work. L&D functions that have made the transition to this model not only cut spending on wasted learning by more than $5M, on average, but also achieved 25 to 60 percent higher content quality, capability development, and business results across the whole organization.”

The movement toward consistency in learning access points will greatly and positively affect learning, the “customer’s” experience, and the organizational ROI.



Top Insights for the World’s Leading Executives

2015–2016 Annual Edition

CEB Inc.



Scrap Learning—Your Programs Are Not As Good as You Think They Are

Training Industry Conference & Exposition 2015

May 7, 2015

John R. Mattox, II, Ph.D.



Build a Learning Franchise to Reduce Wasted Learning

December 17, 2015 - by  Mark Van Buren, Jean Martin

Association for Talent Development


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