L&D can learn a thing or two by looking outside of the eLearning box
There is a proportional relationship between staff performance and the workload of an L&D professional: as staff performance decreases, our workload increases. We are often asked to fix something that doesn’t work and then expected to create a solution that makes everything better.
Training that results from such short-sided requests is often just temporarily masking staff’s inabilities until someone realizes that things still don’t work and another training session is prescribed. This use case can often be seen on sales teams: if sales numbers are low, managers ask for training in order to increase quarterly numbers.
A day in the life of a salesperson
Here’s a scenario: Sales numbers aren’t where they should be. It is the second month of the quarter and the sales manager decides that her team needs refresher training on product. Typically, we put the team in a room, present the content in a boring PowerPoint presentation, follow up with a pop quiz, and hope for the best.
There are of course some major flaws with this approach. For starters, one size doesn’t fit all and we can’t prescribe training that no one is interested in, despite it being important to the business. It is your responsibility to create excitement around your content and explain the why behind it. Consider taking a page out of marketing’s playbook in order to promote your content through emails, in departmental newsletters, or across your intranet site.
Further, we don’t consider the possibility that one salesperson does know a lot about certain features of the product already, but not others. So why do we have this person sit through an entire session of which only 20% is relevant? Instead, review each individual salesperson’s records and identify where and why they are losing deals. Based on this data, you can tailor the training to each individual and offer just-in-time content. For example, you could build short learning units that cover different parts of the product and only the relevant aspects have to be taken into consideration by the learner.
Deliver just-in-time content for L&D performance
We are stuck in the past and believe that someone will only learn something if they are sitting in front of us. With new technology advancements, however, it becomes easier to deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time and also measure its effectiveness. One tool that makes waves right now is Slack, and going Obie, a chatbot that can be integrated with Slack. It allows you to attach files from your Google Drive, for example, and lets the learner pull information from Obie, or have Obie push content to the learner as needed.
Going back to our example, chances are your salesperson already knows a good deal about the product through previous training, conversations with the Product Managers in the hallway or through an informal huddle. You can create microlearning units and program Obie to send out information in a predefined flow at a certain time. The learner decides if, when and how he will leverage the presented information, meaning do they need a refresher on said content or should they wait for the next piece of content to be pushed out?
Alternatively, you can program Obie to answer ‘what, why and how’ questions relating to the product. When the learner needs the answer to a particular feature, he can simply ask Obie and will be presented with the answer. Obie needs to be trained and learns as you go along. Still, it’s a much more fluid experience and the just-in-time delivery will help the learner to be successful in the moment of highest need: when he is on the phone with a client and quickly needs the answer.
Become an L&D hero
In the past, Marketing efforts were hard to measure, but quickly, Marketers picked up on automation and embraced data to make more informed decisions, which by the way also made them a key player at the table. L&D is still behind the curve when it comes to delivering the right content at the right time and leveraging data to design learning that sticks. Follow Marketing’s example and become an L&D hero, who has a place at the table, by moving away from the one- size-fits-all towards just-in-time content that makes a real difference to the learner.
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