Have you considered digitizing your induction training yet?

shutterstock_230157199(1)

Effective induction training is critical to the success and future of new employees within an organization. It’s equally critical for the organization to achieve faster and efficient business results. However, it is not always a cakewalk to organize and impart induction training through conventional classroom methods. HR managers struggle with several challenges associated with it, and digital/eLearning approach is rapidly getting popular as a solution to those challenges. So what are some of the top challenges related to in-person/classroom induction training, and how eLearning can help solve them? Let’s dig a bit deeper.

 

  • Risk of inconsistent messaging: Classroom training is at the risk of inconsistent messaging which largely depends on trainers’ tone and methods. With deployment of a standardized eLearning program, organizations can ensure that new employees joining across locations get consistent induction experience. In addition, you can also localize the courses to reach out to various geographies.

 

  • Logistical nightmare: It is challenging for HR teams to gather all new employees and trainers at one place for the required number of days. Also, there are a lot of administrative tasks like travel and stay arrangements of trainers and attendees, arrangements for classrooms and equipment, study material etc. Conversely, eLearning once created can be deployed number of times, across number of locations. Thus, it can help reduce the logistical hassles, and in turn, the associated costs.

 

  • Information overload: New employees are often overloaded with information during induction training. They can take eLearning anytime (even before joining), anywhere and any number of times. Thus, they can take/revisit the content at their own pace and complete the training independently and confidently.

 

  • Catering to various staff types: It’s a challenge to make the induction training program flexible enough which can be deployed across various occupational groups such as full-time, part-time, contractors, staff on secondment and temporary staff. eLearning course can be easily tailored to make specific part(s) of the training available to different types of staff.

 

  • Tracking and ensuring compliance: Keeping a track of induction status of all new employees is a time consuming task. An eLearning course helps to track the completion and compliance in a faster and efficient way. It is easy to ensure that employees revisit the relevant content until they clear the course and complete the relevant courses before taking their role.

 

  • Maintaining learners’ interest and focus: Some parts of induction training such as company policies and procedures could be heavy for new employees. With the use of compelling multimedia elements, variety of presentation styles and interactions, such topics can be made interesting for new employees. This, in turn, can help them in knowledge retention and transfer.

 

Let’s consider examples of product manufacturing and healthcare industries to understand how eLearning could benefit them. For product manufacturing companies with multiple product lines, eLearning ensures consistent and up-to-date messaging about various products across all locations. New employees can thus gain comprehensive product knowledge which is accessible to them all the times. Healthcare and life-sciences companies use a variety of data and record maintaining apps. The relevant app training becomes crucial for new employees to use it effectively on-the-job. ELearning can particularly be beneficial here as new employees can learn the apps independently through “Show-me”, “Let-Me Try” simulation courses.

 

eLearning also helps to make the induction experience fun and engaging for the millennial hires. Millennials are tech-savvy, goal oriented, and like to learn by exploring. Gamification elements such as leaderboards, badges, rewards, achievements, levels and visual progress bars appeal specifically to the millennial hires and inspire them to complete the training with focus and vigor.

 

Thus, eLearning helps in efficient on boarding of new employees with less time, cost and resources. If required, you can blend it with classroom training, and it could be an ideal deal as you can reap the benefits of both types of training. The blended approach can help create a positive impact on organization’s success, as new employees will come out of the training with more motivation, confidence and readiness to start productive work immediately.

Digital Product Training for your Mobile Salesforce

shutterstock_352116713

Effective product training to its salesforce is crucial for any organization’s success and brand value, and this holds true especially for product manufacturing firms. How well a salesforce can deliver the message to existing and prospective customers can make a big difference to its sales figures. But it’s not an easy task, especially when you are constantly innovating and have an extensive range of products, parts and accessories.

 

A lot of training managers at manufacturing companies typically cite product training as one of their key challenge areas. And this is why:

 

  1. Most of the organizations release new products or product updates frequently. Sales representatives keep going on and off the board constantly. It thus becomes a challenge to ensure that they have standardized and up-to-date knowledge on all products at all times.
  2. A lot of times, salesforce is spread across geographically. Also considering that they are often travelling on sales calls, it is a huge task to gather them in one place to attend trainings. It costs in terms of logistics, time invested in travelling and interruption to their work schedule.
  3. Considering the number of trainers involved across multiple locations, maintaining consistent and accurate training content becomes difficult.
  4. Considering multiple product releases and in-turn, their sales collateral, sometimes there is ambiguity on the latest version of such collateral received by the salesforce.

 

All of this could directly impact a company’s bottom line. In the absence of comprehensive, current and easily accessible product knowledge, the sales person could struggle to deliver a smooth pitch about the product, handle customer questions proficiently, recommend right products, gain customer’s trust and essentially get business.

 

A training manager had once asked me, “Then how do we train our salesforce effectively?” My answer to her was “Mobile Learning.” This is the best solution for today’s tech-savvy and mobile salesforce. The various benefits for mobile learning are:

 

For salesforce

  • On-the-go learning via smartphone or tablet, convenient with their schedule and pace
  • Real-time access to current and relevant product knowledge just before or even during customer meetings –leading to ‘Performance Support through Just in Time Learning Solutions’
  • Ability to continuously review completed courses, podcasts and documents
  • Complex product specifications, engineering drawings, installation and servicing information made easy through compelling multimedia content

 

For product manufacturer

  • Better trained, successful and motivated salesforce which can even lead to higher retention
  • Complete control on the training content across multiple locations
  • Boost in training attendance
  • Reduced logistics cost such as hotel or travel expenses
  • Ability to track training attendance, completion and performance
  • Opportunities for increased sales due to strong product knowledge at the point-of-sale

 

While there will always be a place for instructor-led training for some part of it, mobile learning can greatly impact sales through a well-trained sales force, which will always be on top of their game.

 

It would be wonderful to know your thoughts, questions and experiences in the comments section below.

 

Edumercials—tasty titbits to strengthen your eLearning diet

Edumercial or infomercial—have you heard any of these terms before? If yes, most probably you would have heard them in the context of marketing, where edumercial stands for ‘education + commercial”.  Generally, it is a commercial advertisement that offers education to its audience with a hidden objective of promotion. In this blog, I will be talking about using edumercials in eLearning, which is one of Harbinger Interactive Learning’s unique and pioneering offerings.

So what is an edumercial in the eLearning context? It’s an innovative instructional approach that brings the benefits of television commercials (TVCs) into the learning experience. These are bite-sized micro-learning nuggets that put across a concept in a captivating way.

Like for commercials, the critical element in these 5 to 6 minute videos is to grab learner’s attention in first 3 to 10 seconds. This is done through compelling audio, imagery and animation. One can also add interactivity to enhance learner engagement. The concept or the piece of information is often woven into a story or a scenario to let learners relate to it and be interested to learn more. Edumercials usually do not have knowledge checks or assessments.

You must be curious to know why are edumercials required and when should one use them? Basically, edumercials can be used as standalone ‘just-in-time’ learning pieces or they can also be integrated within an eLearning course to make it more engaging. They can be used for a variety of purposes such as:

  • Introduction to a course
  • Product demonstration
  • ‘Show Me’ simulation
  • Rapid recall exercise
  • Quick synopsis
  • Job aids

As edumercials are quick and to the point, they go a long way in grabbing and mainlining learners’ focus. They can be quickly recalled and align well with the Cognitive Load Theory. According to this theory, our short term or working memory has a small capacity to retain 4-5 bits of information at a time. Edumercials help reduce the amount of load that is being placed upon the learners’ working memory and help to effectively integrate the information into his/her long-term memory.

Using edumercials in the right way is a systematic instructional approach that delivers the message or information across learners efficiently. They certainly motivate distracted or stressed learners or learners who struggle to manage their time to learn. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.