Tag Archive for: subscription learning

Research shows that one-on-one tutoring is generally highly effective — with a good tutor, of course. Similarly, John Anderson — the cognitive psychologist — along with others — developed Intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) that tailor content to learners based on cognitive models of what they know and don't know.

These learning approaches are beneficial because they personalize learning based on a diagnosis of learner knowledge. This is not a new concept. Indeed, the Socratic Method also took learners on a journey based on their responses. B. F. Skinner's operant conditioning provided reinforcement based on learner actions. Skinner's Programmed Learning and Fred Keller's Personalized System of Instruction are practical applications based on operant conditioning principles.

We've known for millennium that personalized learning is good — and we've even dabbled in scalable implementations like programmed learning — but for the most part we are still awaiting the promise of such personalization.

Now may be the time. New technologies are beginning to show promise. For example, subscription-learning threads based on personalized spacing schedules personalize learning nuggets based on learner responses. Still, one area where personalization hasn't been much in evidence is video. That may be changing.

Consensus Demo

Consensus allows its users to create videos tailored to each learner. Their focus is on sales and marketing — and particularly on creating demos — but the technology could be used for other needs as well. Consensus tailors content to users based on their interests, background, etc. When folks choose a topic as “Very Important,” users get the full video segment and get it first. When folks choose a topic as “Somewhat Important,” users get a summary video. When they choose “Not Important,” users don’t get any segments associated with those topics.

Consensus can also segment users based on their role in an organization, based on the size of their company, or based on other demographics as well.

They’ve got a great video that you can tailor to your needs. Worth watching! Click to check out Consensus.


Microlearning, the unruly kid sister of subscription learning, is apparently a topic of great interest for associations, according to Association Learning + Technology 2016, a report published by Tagoras, Inc. (http://www.tagoras.com/) and sponsored by YM Learning (formerly Digital Ignite).

Click here to see their press release…

Published in the personal growth section of Medium, compiled by Zavyalov Artem, is a list of micro-learning tools. 

It is certainly NOT the TEN BEST, but it does offer some interesting finds in the area of personal growth. Indeed, one of the apps is said to prevent you from spending more than 5 minutes a day in learning!

Click here for the link…

Here's another article on Microlearning, this time from MemeBurn.

  • http://memeburn.com/2015/07/why-microlearning-beats-traditional-learning-patterns/




Google, of course, is trying to sell a product when it says that everyone is getting content in "micro moments," that is, in "moments of intent" when they have a "how-to-do" need. Yes, sounds a bit like Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson's Moments of Need, but the relation between the two is only searchable.

Two thoughts here:

  1. Again, we see more and more emphasis on short learning interventions.
  2. These types of microlearning interventions are only in play when the learner has a clear sense that they need help that new information can provide. There are many other learning needs that aren't covered in "moments of learning intent."

Here is the Google Post with all the new micro-moment buzzwords…


Fort Hill Company, long known for its innovative approach to training transfer, is now getting into on-the-job learning. Their new tool, 70-20, organizes learning opportunities around challenges. Learners engage in challenges and document evidence of their progress through text, photos, video, or web links. Learners can assign themselves challenges or be assigned challenges by a trainer, coach, or manager. Challenges assigned to multiple users enable social learning.

70-20 Logo

Licenses run for a year, so that learners can engage in challenges over time, making 70-20, not a subscription-learning tool per se, but one that can be used for subscription learning.

Fort Hill's experience is that challenges are most successful as learning opportunities when they are short and focused on a specific task or goal. Kathy Granger of Fort Hill told me that she envisioned enlightened learning facilitators utilizing 70-20 for subscription learning by creating a global challenge with specific sub-challenges strung together in an intentional way.

Reflection on Leveraging On-the-Job Learning

Although the percentages in the 70-20-10 model are of dubious origin (and are not verified by science), there's no denying that people learn while they work. The big question is whether this on-the-job learning is leverageable, and if it is, what are the most effective ways to leverage that learning.

Lots of folks are working on this. Group-learning platforms (like LearningStone) provide socially-enabled on-the-job learning support. Coaching-directed performance learning (like Cognitive Advisors) provide performance-support level coaching. Now we can add Fort Hill's 70-20 to the list.

It's great that organizations are attempting to leverage on-the-job learning. Kudos too to vendors who are developing tools for this purpose.

We're still early in figuring out how digital tools can help. More work and experimentation need to be done. New mobile tools may provide superior benefits, but old-fashioned management has a role to play as well. Let's not forget that apprenticeship — a potent on-the-job learning method — has been around for hundreds of years.

There are several dimensions of on-the-job learning that come into play with the new tools.

  • Whether the learning is leverageable or just organic.
  • The extent to which the learning is directed or spontaneous.
  • The extent of push technology.
  • The motivation of the learners.
  • The involvement of learner's managers (or coaches, mentors, etc.)
  • The validity of the learned information.
  • The ability of the tools to reinforce key points.
  • The ability of the tools to go beyond recognized needs to target unrecognized needs.

So much more to learn…



Michiel Klonhammer, one of the founders of LearningStone, taught me something last week — that subscription learning could be delivered within communities of learners, at least in those communities that have the advantage of a scheduled curriculum.

Subscription learning at its core is the periodic delivery of very short learning nuggets to learners. From the perspective of learners' cognitive architecture, there are several advantages to this method of learning. First, it can utilize the spacing effect, the finding that repetitions spaced over time are better remembered than repetitions not spaced over time. Second, it can reinforce ideas, providing the benefits of repetition itself. Third, because learners are likely to encounter these nuggets at work, they are more likely to be integrated in memory with workplace contextual cues.

The most obvious vision of subscription learning involves the intentional delivery of learning nuggets, designed and scheduled to maximize effectiveness. What Michiel (pronounced Michael in the English-speaking context) taught me is that short learning nuggets could also be delivered in a less prescribed manner when communities of learners deliver learning messages to each other.


LearningStone is a group-based learning platform that is typically used by learning facilitators (trainers, educators, and managers) to take learners through a curriculum and maximize learning-related interactions between learners. LearningStone's creators believe strongly that the human element is a key to learning. They built LearningStone to provide blended learning with a strong focus on collaborative learning — where the system and the trainer or coach can stimulate collaborative actions and both the system and the participants can stimulate other participants to join in, to be engaged and be motivated.

From a subscription-learning perspective, LearningStone's curriculum interface schedules learning events. These learning events are focused on the whole group, not the individual. That is, the learning events are not scheduled based on a particular learner's performance in learning. In addition, learning can occur at the initiation of the learners themselves.

I still have more to learn about LearningStone, but here are some initial reflections:

  1. Having a scheduled curriculum, even if it is not individualized, can provide learning nuggets spaced over time in an intentionally-designed manner.
  2. Obviously, this may miss some of the advantages of individualization, including more targeted retrieval practice, more precise feedback, and gamification affordances; yet, such spacing and intention can produce better learning than one-time events.
  3. Where communities of learners are active, their interactions can provide additional short learning events — and perhaps, just as peer mentoring is often more effective than expert-mentoring, such interactions may be especially beneficial to learners. 

Alex Khurgin, Director of Learning and Creative at Grovo (a Microlearning Vendor), says that Microlearning is good for enterprise learning because it builds alignment with organizational goals, it meets the needs of today’s learners for shorter and shorter learning nuggets, and it’s cheaper than longer learning initiatives.

You can read his article at the Chief Learning Officer website. It’s worth the read as further evidence that vendors are hot to push for shortened learning nuggets.

Of course, microlearning is more potent when it is intentionally threaded over time, utilizing the scientifically-backed principles of spacing, retrieval practice, and feedback.

The buzz is in the air…There is definitely something changing in our industry…With many recent discussions of microlearning, subscription learning, nano learning, and the like, it seems the marketplace is being readied for a pivot to a different type of learning…

In a webinar today, David Mallon, Senior Vice President at Deloitte, shared how Bersin by Deloitte sees the future of the learning industry.

In a nutshell, they’re pushing the idea of “Continuous Learning.”


As you can see from the diagram, they see almost any learning modality as a possible leverage point for continuous learning. To be clear, they are not embracing subscription learning, they are arguing that we in L&D need to engage learners continuously to maximize learning.

As part of the same presentation, Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify did share examples of subscription learning, though she didn’t call it that. You can see the Axonify learning model below. Notice how spaced repetitions and retrieval practice are backed into it.

The bottom line is that the industry is beginning to recognize the importance of supporting remembering,  application, and on-the-job learning — and subscription learning is a new tool in the toolbox.

Some of you may be interested in the Learning Landscape Model, which highlights the importance of remembering, prompting, application, and on-the-job learning.



Microlearning and its more sophisticated cousin, subscription learning, are beginning to gain acceptance by regulators and those who credential.

Until recently, many regulators and credentialors would only accept traditional classroom and elearning courses as acceptable proof of competence or learning. No more.

As reported yesterday on the AccountingToday website, the "National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs are proposing to revise the standards for continuing professional education for accountants." More specifically, they are proposing that microlearning (or what they're calling nano-learning) be deemed an acceptable learning experience.

The Ohio Society of CPA's (OSCPA) got the ball rolling on this, quickly followed by Maryland's CPA group. OSCPA president and CEO Scott D. Wiley, quoted by AccountingToday back in March said, “The nature of professional education is changing…Studies show micro learning can provide the quick, focused education that CPAs need to stay current in the market place.”

If the stereotypically-stodgy accounting profession is credentialing microlearning courses, other organizations are likely to soon follow.

Evidence for the popularity of microlearning just keeps adding up…