Mobile learning, like any learning, is often deployed with a “check-the-box, now we’ve got that covered” mindset. But if you want a real Return On Investment, well-designed custom mobile learning can move that needle. Here’s how.

ROI is about maximizing the benefit of the resources invested. Custom mobile learning offers the highest ROI impact when used for what it does best:

  • Minimize Barriers To Access: Custom mobile learning can make it easy for learners to find answers right now, on their mobile devices, not six (6) months later in a classroom.
  • Maximize Learner Certainty So They Can Move Forward: Custom mobile learning is not just branded to your company; it directly addresses your company’s business processes and policies, your equipment, and work environments, your proprietary information, and even the learner’s specific role, and job duties. Generic off-the-shelf content simply cannot give users the same level of confidence and clarity. Especially for an employee with a question or challenge on the job, confidence is critical to their ability to move forward in a safe and timely manner.
  • Reduce Face-To-Face Classroom Time: Developing cannabis industry custom mobile learning may (or may not) be more expensive than developing an Instructor-Led Training course that requires learners to gather in one physical location. However, over time it will save the enormous costs of travel and employee time away from work. ROI looks at costs over time, not just up-front investment. ROI improvement around classroom face time happens in two (2) main ways:
    1. Use mobile learning instead of face-to-face classroom time. Mobile learning has become sophisticated enough that it is more than just a cost-cutting compromise. It is now often the best choice for certain learning needs. Remember that mobile doesn’t necessarily mean no human contact or interaction. Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) is mobile, too. Designed well, mobile learning can be an excellent choice for solid learning outcomes.
    2. When face-to-face time in a single location is critical to success, you can still deploy mobile pre-learning to bring learners up to a consistent knowledge level before they arrive. A solid foundation of knowledge means they can get more benefits from classroom training. It also means the instructor doesn’t have to devote class time to bring a few people up to speed before diving into the core content of the course. Shorter class times and better learning outcomes are other ways of achieving more benefits for the time and money invested.


Why Custom Mobile Learning?

Custom mobile learning doesn’t just demonstrate how people, in general, perform a task or conduct themselves. Instead, it shows how the system/procedure/equipment/policy is used in your organization by people in a particular group or role.

The more personally relevant the content, the more likely a learner is to pay attention and watch/engage, and the more likely the content will prove truly useful to them. Genuine personal relevance is near impossible with generic off-the-shelf training. It’s easy and natural with custom mobile learning.

A very cost-effective way to battle the post-training forgetting curve is to offer excerpts from the class as mobile learning nuggets. Elements from a WBT cannabis industry training can be sliced and diced into short, specific nuggets of knowledge that a learner can refer to back on the job.

Reusing content saves development costs and extends the content’s benefit – an obvious ROI win – but only if it addresses a user’s specific knowledge or skill gap. For example, in a new IT system rollout, a user doesn’t want to know all the ways they could fill out an online form; they want to know exactly how to fill out the online form to perform a specific task in their workflow.

Without a custom cannabis industry company- or even role-specific business process and procedure information, the generic system information is frustrating and often useless to the employee. Sometimes, there is no off-the-shelf content for the training you need.

For example, small changes to a business process or policy are inherently unique to your organization. Custom content is the only choice. Mobile deployment of that custom content is a cost-effective way to give knowledgeable learners a short update rather than require them to sit through a whole class again.

Custom mobile learning provides exactly what learners need to know in a quick, easy-to-digest format.


High-Impact Applications for Custom Mobile Learning

To maximize the benefits of custom mobile learning, it’s important to think about which types of learning work best on which devices. On desktops and laptops, Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), Web-Based Training (WBT), and simulations work well for:

  • First-Time Content Exposure
  • In-Depth Learning
  • Long Content (text and video)
  • Complex or Detailed Graphics
  • Any Content With High Interactivity

On phones, think short, focused, searchable content nuggets such as:

  • Refreshers
  • On-The-Job Performance Support
  • Short How-To Videos
  • Podcasts

Phones are also ideal for social interactions:

  • Text Messaging
  • Chat
  • Posting Quick Responses On Forums

How Does Training Translate Into ROI?

Effective training changes behavior and work outcomes. When the change obtained is worth more than the resources invested to obtain that change, that’s a positive ROI. It’s easy to compare value and cost when both are measured in dollars.

But most resources and benefits are less direct and have to be translated into dollars, custom mobile learning especially impacts:


  • Increased speed to certainty means reduced unproductive time and increased productivity for the employee and for everyone downstream waiting on that employee’s output. Hard measures might include equipment utilization, time to complete tasks/projects, and meeting deadlines and production targets.
  • Decreased time away from the job. Some content that used to be covered in the classroom is better suited to custom mobile learning, which typically fits better into the employee’s workflow and does not require travel time or extended time away from the workplace.

People & Goods

As with any training effort, when employees know and follow company best practices in real-time, this should reduce waste, rework, and returns. You may also be able to measure improvements in the number of customer complaints, employee satisfaction, and employee turnover, not to mention reduced safety incidents.

Training Development

Reusing content in multiple formats for custom mobile learning leads to more benefits for almost the same original development cost. You can use the social aspect of custom mobile learning to collect real-time learner feedback.

For example, a one-question text survey after training or a “was this useful?” question at the end of a video can give regular, specific, actionable information about what’s working and what’s not. This costs little time and money, but it feeds continuous improvement, which can yield big dividends in terms of hitting the target for behavior change.

After all, if no behavior changes result from your cannabis industry training, your ROI is automatically negative.


How Do I Measure ROI Impact?

The first step is to know which outcomes you’re trying to impact with this training. Then design for measurement from the beginning by baking it into your learning objectives. Even a 2-minute video is better if it has solid learning objectives.

If you want to achieve and measure ROI, objectives are the first step toward success for your video and your entire learning strategy. Start with Kirkpatrick’s model of the four (4) levels of evaluation:

You can think of measuring ROI as the fifth level of evaluation. There are details here on how to devise course-level, application-level, and impact-level objectives, which can be measured at the learner, group, and organization levels to demonstrate ROI.

Sometimes learning benefits fade with time, as employees revert to old habits or forget what they’ve learned. For an accurate ROI calculation, especially for soft benefits such as employee satisfaction and its contribution to reduced turnover and productivity, space assessments at 2 – 3 months post-training, again at 6 months, and again up to 1 – 2 years after the initial training.

Of course, reinforcing the behavior change post-training will help it stick. Build ongoing custom mobile learning into your cannabis industry training design in the form of reminders, refreshers, follow-ups, and other brief engagements. Changes beyond training are also important, especially to make attitudinal and cultural changes stick.

Training alone cannot move the needle for long if reward systems are aligned against the desired outcomes. When it comes to organization-wide change efforts, it’s important to be part of a wider team to see a big ROI impact.

Core Take-Aways

  • Aim for impact by selecting the issues and opportunities custom mobile learning can address best.
  • Create objectives so your custom mobile learning is aimed at specific, measurable business needs.
  • Use the objectives as the basis for the measurement of ROI.
  • Reinforce and measure impact over time.

Let us know what you think.