Four Effective Ways to Train Your Catering Staff

In some of my previous blogs, I touched upon the growing need for training in the catering industry. We also looked at certain skillsets and processes that catering managers need to be groomed and trained on. With millennials and Gen Z forming a huge chunk of the catering industry’s employee-base and the high turnover rate that is generally prevalent here, training has never been more relevant. This makes a good case to look at some of the most efficient ways to train your catering staff and enable them to provide outstanding guest experience.

  1. Micro-Learning

Micro-learning is now a pervasive trend, in almost all walks of our digital life. It goes without saying that it is an effective method to train your catering staff as well. Micro-learning is on-demand, delivered at the point-of-need, and highly relevant because the employee is concentering on one skill/learning objective at a time rather than worrying about the entire curriculum.  For example – Instead of a long course on how to serve food to the customer, your staff will enjoy consuming small micro-learning nuggets on how to set up the table or how to serve wine when they need to learn about them.

  1. Scenario-Based Learning

Use of scenarios based on real-life situations is a very useful training mechanism. Scenarios can help learners to understand the best way to handle a situation. Training can be made more interactive by the use of branching scenarios where there could be different results to a situation based on the learner’s response.  Scenario-based training is the ideal mechanism to train staff on soft skills. For example, a scenario on how to handle an irate customer or how to greet a customer can enable employees to be prepared with the relevant skills when the real-life instance occurs.

  1. Game-Based Learning

Use of game elements in learning enhances the learning experience, makes it fun, and also gives the learner a sense of challenge and achievement.  Leaderboards, time-based quizzes, time-driven missions are some of the common mechanisms used in game-based learning.  For example, a time-bound, game-based module that requires the learners to finish setting up 10 tables flawlessly, and get on the leaderboard, can be a great way to train your employees on relevant skills.

  1. Learning Reinforcement

Catering staff deals with customers on a regular basis and it is important to find ways to reinforce the training. Tools like learning enforcement apps, flash-cards, interim knowledge checks, and standup meetings are an effective method to reinforce training.

These different training modalities are an effective way to train your staff members and keep them motivated.  I would be keen to know of any other approaches that you use to ensure your staff is trained well. Share your comments below or drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com

Medical Device Sales Training – Time for a face-lift

Medical device sales reps are considered to be amongst the most sophisticated reps globally, as they require strong intellect, skills, and qualification to stay competitive in this industry. With the advent of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and disruptive technologies, there is tremendous focus on the way medical device sales training is delivered. Traditional digital learning methods are unable to match pace and requirements of the modern day sales reps and hence it’s time to relook at this training.

Let’s look at some interesting ways to give a face-lift to medical device sales training.

  1. Modernizing legacy courses

The modern day medical sales reps work in an extremely competitive and dynamic market which demands them to have requisite product knowledge at their fingertips. Online training modules developed in legacy tools kills the overall purpose of effective, on-demand sales training. The need is to convert these legacy courses into new, mobile-friendly formats, which the sales reps can access anywhere and anytime.

  1. Creating relevant micro-learning chunks

Medical device sales trainers are increasingly looking at converting lengthy eLearning modules into meaningful micro-learning chunks which can capture key learning objectives. These chunks can be easily pushed via mobile apps to keep the sales reps updated. For e.g. If there are any changes in FDA 21 CFR, specific updates can be easily pushed via mobile app to sales reps.  Another example of this could be delivering key product information chunks to sales reps. These micro-nuggets can come in handy while pitching to their prospects.

  1. Converting ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts to self-paced digital learning products

Medical device sales training can be in multiple forms including ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts. These formats are effective but it’s really difficult to assess the sales reps’ knowledge once they complete them. It’s also challenging for the reps to recall everything they watched or listened to, after a certain span of time. The solution is to convert such ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts into self-paced digital learning products which have assessments. These products can then be delivered to the sales reps as refresher courses at frequent intervals, which could help in content reinforcement.

  1. Converting the courses to meet modern compliance needs

Traditional digital training may deem ineffective if it doesn’t comply with the latest industry regulations. Modern-day medical device sales training is expected to meet different compliance needs like 508, WCAG 2.0 AA, LTI, and xAPI. So, ensure that the training you develop for your sales reps complies with the industry regulations, and is also flexible enough to accommodate any future updates.

Since knowledge is the foundation of medical device sales and practitioners around the world rely on it, it is critical to present it in the most convenient and effective form. I hope the above approaches come in handy when you strategize your medical device sales training.

Autonomy in Corporate Learning – Content Guidelines To Follow

By definition, autonomy is your capacity to take responsibility for, and control of your own learning, whether in an institution, or completely independent of an instructor or institution. Does this sound familiar? Can you relate to it? Let’s explore further in this article.

There are drastic changes in our everyday life when it comes to learning, compared to a decade back. Autonomy is a big part of this new age learning and is completely transforming our learning experiences. Kids are learning with apps like Byju’s and professionals are making use of portals like Udemy. Watching tutorials to create curated photos for Instagram and vines for YouTube!

Autonomy in workplace learning has been fueled by certain factors in the recent years. Some of them being:

• Inclusion of millennials and gen Z in the workforce
•High mobile usage penetration
• Rise of the gig economy

Users who opt for an autonomous style of learning are usually the ones who want to learn a particular skill in a very short time frame. These users are expected to grasp concepts quickly and put them into practice immediately.

At the core of it, autonomy demands the focus to shift from a culture of training to a culture of learning.  Building right learning content is the first step towards encouraging it. Here are some good practices to remember as you develop autonomous learning content for your organization.

1. Personalize the course
i. Using terms like “I am here” or ‘’you are here’’ for the user’s status.
ii. Allow users to input their name, which the system dynamically fetches through the course.

2. Make users feel accountable
i. Showing awards or rewards that they have earned.
ii. Having negative scoring also helps sometimes.
iii. Having timers to create a sense of urgency.

3. Guide users without overwhelming them
i. Showing roadmaps or scoreboards for the status – this is very important for self-paced learning.
ii. Using accurate signifiers to guide the user – these ensure that no time is wasted in completing user actions or interactions.
iii. Providing options to revisit or skip.

4. Keeping content light and precise
i. Using smaller animations with greater impact, since the attention span of the modern-day learners is quite low.
ii. Animation screens should always be ‘open-navigation’ and not restricted. Users should be able to decide which part of the animation they want to visit.
iii. Do not use jargonized statements and objectives. Keep the language simple. And also, try and limit the total number of objectives to 4, to keep them achievable.

Autonomy is more of a mindset than a practice. What do you think? Are there any best practices that you would like to share? Comment below!

Learning Trends to Watch Out for in 2019

It is that time of year when we all take a pause and reflect on the year passing by and get ready to welcome the new one. My role as a Proposal Engineer at Harbinger Interactive Learning makes me stretch outside the norms and design interesting solutions for our customers. While looking back at 2018, I realized this year was unique in many ways. It challenged the eLearning stakeholders in many ways and got them out of their comfort zone. All these advancements have paved way for an even more exciting 2019.

Here are the trends I foresee for the upcoming year.

Instructional Design to Learning Experience Design

Instructional design seems to be gradually evolving into learning experience design. Instructional designers will now need to think beyond course instructional strategy, chunking content, and storyboard creation. Delivering learning content in newer ways based on learner behavior would be their new agenda. Applying instructional strategies for newer formats like chatbot, AR/VR, short animated videos, would be very different than applying them to an hour long course. Our instructional designers have already started experiencing this change. Have you?

Redefined eLearning Course Development and Design

The ideal duration of an eLearning course changed from an hour or two to about 30 minutes in the last few years. It would further dip down to 2-5 minute long modules. The delivery formats would now also include interactive infographics, AR content, and other such interesting forms. It implies that every course and every learning experience could be unique. This change would also form the premise for a huge transformation in the way eLearning content development units and L&D departments function, since they won’t be using the waterfall model to develop hundreds of hours of learning in the same format anymore.

eLearning Project Management Moves Agile

Agile project management practices have been around in software development cycle since ages. And they have been talked about for quite some time now in eLearning teams as well. With the type of variety in content being developed now, it would be a welcome to see agile project management in action here as well.

CLOs and Learning Directors Ready to Take Risks

In the past, for many of our proposals, we have been asked to put down the ROI for eLearning development in black and white. But in 2018, we saw that quite a few learning stake-holders were open to newer ideas, trying out different forms of learning content delivery, and not being hung upon the ROI. I don’t deny that ROI is important. And it would have to be asked one day. But, what is important is that stake-holders are ready to take risks. The parameters of ROI are being shifted from “number of hours of learning” to “performance improvement” of an employee in areas that matter. If a support desk employee can get a just-in-time learning nugget on how to fill a complex form and completes that form within record time and handle more support queries, the ROI is achieved.

Netflix-like Experiences in Learning

Today, no learner would like to login to an LMS to take up a course even if they have free time. But, if the same employee is on an internal portal browsing some content and there comes a learning nugget in the context of what they are surfing, there are high chances of them clicking on this learning nugget. And that is how learning would happen now: In-context and nudged based on user actions. A seemingly Netflix like experience where movies are recommended based on what the user watches and surfs. And the recommendations only become better with time.

Artificial Intelligence in Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made great advancements through the past few years and this year will mark its remarkable presence in L&D setup. AI is going to play a dual role here: Providing personalized experiences and learner evaluation through analytics.

AI-powered chatbots are currently being used to answer financial queries, provide customer support, diagnose healthcare issues, and even offer counselling on various topics. They are already starting to make an impact on education and corporate learning. Bots similar to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana could be developed to frontend a course and provide personalized learning experiences.  Besides delivering learning, a chatbot can also provide information about what people learn, how they learn, and what they need to learn. The data recorded from chatbot interactions can be analyzed to see what is being learned and when. It will also tell you what information is missing by recording the queries that it couldn’t respond to. This means that training can become more relevant and effective as it’s based on the demonstrable needs of employees rather the notional needs determined by L&D.

Interesting time lies ahead for the L&D function as some new learning and re-skilling looks to be the order of the year. Do you agree? Get immersed and enjoy the journey!

An Instructional Designer’s Experience with Automation Testing

Harbinger organizes an annual event called Automathon. This event primarily focuses on automation testing, wherein participants write test scripts on given scenarios. Although I am an instructional designer by profession, I decided to participate in this event, owing to my personal interest in the testing function.

The Automathon primarily focuses on testing through an automated framework called Harbinger’s Integrated Hybrid Automation Framework (HIHAF). While dedicated professionals can undoubtedly do a great job at testing various scenarios, it is ideal that some part of the process is automated, to achieve massive turnovers. HIHAF is a great example of it. The framework requires quality engineers to write test scripts and it executes those scripts. So, although I knew I had a tool which could do half the job, the other half was to be done by me. I already had a sneak peek into writing test scripts; but what came as a big learning was manipulating the application to work with those scripts. When writing test scripts, you need to know why and how the application functions under certain conditions.

Before I participated in this event, I always felt that writing test scripts doesn’t require a great deal of programming knowledge. But what I did not realize was that one still needs to fathom well with the objects used in the software and their behavior. It requires understanding the processes and the environment surrounding these processes.

Apart from how I dealt with the writing of scripts, there were a lot of other takeaways for me from this event. I realized that it was just a beginning into the world of automation testing for me and I had a long way to go. I got to meet many people who have been doing really well in this area. It made me think of how frameworks like HIHAF could be beneficial to a wide range of industries. I found myself celebrating new ideas.

It left me with a lurking question, why don’t we embrace good things and ideas from other industries and functions upon whom we thrive, while working in our respective roles. What do you think?