Since its founding in 2010, Grovo has been through several funding rounds, raising a total of $73.3 million before its acquisition by Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD) for $24 million late last year. The largest was its $40 million Series C round in 2016, one year before entering a partnership with CSOD, which integrated Grovo’s microlearning content into CSOD’s platform. (Grovo’s content is now exclusive to CSOD customers, thanks to the acquisition.)
Grovo created its brand completely around the concept of microlearning, even trademarking the term in 2017. While the trademark has not had an impact on the industry’s use of the term, CSOD’s acquisition of Grovo may indicate a growing focus on microlearning. Certainly, says Josh Schwede, vice president of content services at CSOD, “From a financial standpoint, the acquisition presents an opportunity to improve our revenue on content. Grovo has been a key partner in our Content Anytime offering, and upon completion of this acquisition, we will recapture their content royalties.” He adds that CSOD will add two new content brands: “Produced by Cornerstone” and “Cornerstone Originals” – thanks to the acquisition of Grovo’s course library and content creator tool.
CSOD, which already had a strong learning platform (the company is on Training Industry’s 2018 Top 20 Learning Portal/LMS list), can now add content and an authoring tool to its offerings, making this acquisition a valuable one. Grovo has been building up an extensive microlearning library over the last few years, forming partnerships with content providers like Sandler Training and Lange International. The partnering of platform and content providers is a trend in the industry; this acquisition takes that partnership to the next level by combining the two companies.
The fact that CSOD’s new content is in a microlearning format is likely a great benefit to the company and the people who use its platform to learn. Microlearning, writes Irene Tan, senior director of learning and development at Alorica, “promotes comprehension, clear retention of the information and implementation of coursework in everyday operating procedures.” In fact, she reports that Alorica has seen more than 60 percent improvement after re-training employees using microlearning.
Much has been written about the fact that we are busier than ever – or at least, we feel like we are. With great demands on our learners’ energy and attention, microlearning provides a way to make sure that employees learn what they need (and want) to learn – without taking too much time away from their work. When done well, microlearning is an effective just-in-time, in-the-workflow learning tool.
“Microlearning is especially effective for learning very targeted, specific skills in a condensed, digestible format,” says Schwede. “For example, some of the most popular courses involve topics like mindfulness, organization, anti-harassment, and learning about new systems and tools.”
When combined with other training methods in a multi-modal learning approach, microlearning may offer even greater benefits. Training Industry research has found that most organizations use between three and six modalities in a training program, suggesting that multi-modal programs may be more effective. Another study found that when organizations use more modalities, they are more likely to provide training in any given learner’s preferred modality, which leads to greater impact.
Late in 2017, CSOD launched a new strategic plan that included expanding its e-learning presence. Jason Corsello, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development, told Training Industry Magazine a few months later that the new plan would support the “next phase of growth for the business, going from $500 million in annual revenue to a $1 billion revenue company.” The $24 million acquisition of $73.3-million company Grovo seems to be a significant step in that same direction.