Turning on the Wave machine at Learning Pool

29 October 2020 by Matt Watts

This is the latest in a series of blogs about our learning automation tool, Waves.


When I got an email from my boss’s boss’s boss that said “I actually opened my training reminder, which is a first!” I knew that the Learning Pool cybersecurity campaign had been a success.

The campaign was made up of three emails sent by Learning Pool’s scheduling and automation tool, Waves. These emails linked to an Adapt course which had an upfront test. If you could answer eight questions correctly, you didn’t have to do any more training. Once a learner completed their training, they didn’t receive any more reminders and they got a thank you email. Each of the emails took a different approach to persuading learners to take their training. 

The first email was pure clickbait. The subject line promised learners the chance to win £1000 if they completed their training. The first paragraph of the email continued this charade before a second paragraph admitted that “Yes, you’re right, that does sound too good to be true, doesn’t it? That’s very astute of you, you’re clearly clued up on your cybersecurity.” 

Unfortunately, there are probably a few of my colleagues who still believe that they’re in with a chance of winning £1000. It’s amazing how many people skim-read everything. But, thanks to the specific nature of the upfront quiz, I know that they couldn’t have passed it by skimming it. And, from the analytics I collected, I could see just how many attempts each person took to pass it. It’ll be interesting to see if the number of attempts will decrease next time they take some training – will they have learned that skim reading won’t get you anywhere?

The second email was very matter of fact. It wasn’t trying to emotionally blackmail people into taking their training, but it wasn’t a simple notification either. I’d argue that 90% of emails we receive these days are depersonalized and automated, and they are so so easy to ignore and delete. I didn’t want my Waves email to suffer the same fate, so I wrote an email that gently explained why we need people to take the training and why it benefits them and the company as a whole. This approach saw the most responses. 

The final email was completely different again. The subject line read URGENT: TRAINING OVERDUE FOR LEARNER’S NAME. It isn’t an approach I like, it seems patronizing and presents training as a chore, but I had to know whether it was more or less effective than the other emails. 


The results

Once the wave machine was switched off and the Learning Pool was still again, I went to my locker. That is to say, I used Learning Locker to see how successful my campaign had been. I was able to easily keep an eye on the completions, but I wanted a bit more detail than that. Here’s a video where I present the data we gathered in Learning Locker and explain how I used it to analyze the results of the campaign:

Next steps

There’s always more to learn. The data from one campaign is far from concrete evidence of how learners behave, but it lays the foundations for future campaigns as we continue building increasingly personalised and effective learning using  Learning Pool’s product suite


Matt Watts
Academy Manager

Matt started his L&D career as a learning designer. Since then he’s been involved in a variety of projects that combine an interest in tinkering with new technology with learning design and writing skills. Most notably, he provided the personality and linguistic logic behind our chatbot, Flo.

He now manages the Learning Pool Academy, creating resources about our products, replying to comments, creating new courses, and looking after our internal training.

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