Engagement of the Learner is paramount. Finding techniques beyond multiple choice and drag and drop is a must to keep learners on their toes, creating sales training that allows the learner use what they learned.
For one of my clients we created a final exam that required the learners, who were salespersons, to answer a series of questions regarding selling a home. We added the twist of putting a timer in the top corner of the screen with a picture of the customer from the scenarios. As the timer ticked down the customer’s facial expression became less tolerant as they took longer to answer to the question. They would interject comments to the learner, putting on additional pressure. The response to this was amazing. I had company veterans go through the course and say, “wow that final exam was tough, especially with the Customer getting upset at me for not having a timely response.”
Bring a little real world to the learning and it will go along way.
We are constantly striving to find innovative ways of engaging learners. Often Scenarios are designed to illustrate correct behaviour in a given situation. The problem is we cannot really tell if the learner is paying attention and grasping all of the subtle nuances to be successful.
By creating a “First Person” reinforcement activity, learners can practice what they learn in a safe and supportive manner. A few years ago I began to experiment with this technique. As technology has evolved we have become able to do some amazing things. In the past we would have to create a storyboard matrix and lay out the possible paths a learner could take during a conversation. Once these were identified, scripts for both the Learner and the person with whom they were interacting onscreen had to be created. The script for the onscreen person was recorded with an actor in character. The script of possible responses or questions was laid out on screen, giving the learner the opportunity to select a response or question from 4 possible ones at that moment.
The tricky part was recording the video with all the necessary outcomes that wouldn’t take the learner so far down a path they couldn’t recover. I remember in one situation we had to get the on screen character to get more and more upset with the learner during the course of the conversation. We had over 40 video clips she needed to record. By the end the actor told me that this was one of the most difficult shoots she had done, especially getting more and more upset, staying in character while keeping it feeling real. However the project, which was for a very large accounting firm in the US, got an overwhelmingly positive response, with learners scoring very high.
The feedback from this style of learning was fantastic. Companies were able to see immediate improvements due to the fact that the training was not static and the role playing that typically went on in the class was much more consistent and controlled to maximize the learning.
Results from this online learning experience were fully tracked and then sent back to the LMS when appropriate.
Where are we headed next? Avatars, “Second Life” style characters, Learning 2.0 online virtual mentors ….?
I had a very interesting conversation with the head of the accessibility initiatives of a municipality within the Halton region this week. Would it be better to amalgamate the training requirements of all five standards under the AODA or stick with the current approach which is to release each standard one by one with a few years in between?
Take for example the employment standard. When this is reviewed and finally released, all organizations will be required to train all their employees on diversity awareness. This topic lends itself well with the training requirements of the Customer Service Standard. The current approach is somewhat of a piecemeal training strategy. Perhaps it may be best to create a blended training plan incorporating all the standards.
As I mentioned in a previous post, municipalities are coming to the realization that some training must be done online. Given all the standards, several topics can be grouped together in one module. Also, with the amount of training that will be coming down the pipeline, one workshop or training session won’t be enough. There needs to be follow up or refreshers, if you will.
What are your thoughts? Would it benefit you organization if the standards were grouped together?
An increasing number of companies today find their HR or training departments having to do front line level 1 LMS support for their internal learning communities. A few questions come to mind:
- Are they prepared?
- Do they have the right resources?
- Do training coordinators have time to take password reset requests?
- Many of the large LMS offer expensive Level 1 call support, but when does it make sense to consider bringing in an outside company to help out?
- Most training groups will have a person available to answer questions, but this is not their specialty and they usually have other responsibilities.
In large organizations the IT department will often have to support users via the Help Desk. But IT personnel don’t usually know about training so questions have to be escalated to the training department anyway.
So when does it make sense to outsource LMS support? We know that there are peaks and valleys for call volumes, so often full-time staffing is the wrong answer, since it results in either not enough staffers to handle peak call times or excess staffers during low-volume times.
Moving to an outsource model to support your LMS by support specialists who understand Learning Management Systems and user needs simply makes sense.
At MindMuze, more and more of our clients are moving to this model of support. It can be done based upon a per-call cost or a fixed monthly rate depending on call volumes. At the end of the day, if you want to concentrate on creating great learning without using up time and resources for supporting your LMS then outsourcing support may be something to consider.
One public sector I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with is municipalities. A trend I have noticed is that often, regions will pool their resources together to collectively train (using the same training resource) or create new policies, practices, and procedures in coordination with one another. This is a good use of collaboration, but keep in mind all accessibility reports must be filed separately. This means that often a dedicated resource is still required, or someone is hired to ensure compliance with the customer service standard and legislation.
What trends have you been noticing?
We at Mindmuze share the worldwide concern over the appearance of the H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu), and we have decided to take action by making use of our highly successful eLearning methods to spread awareness of this very serious issue.
This eLearning module is intended for individuals, government institutions, schools, hospitals, associations and companies worldwide who want to learn more about what’s happening and what they can do about it. Because this is so important, we are offering this eClass at no charge whatsoever. We feel this is the best way we can help ensure this virus does not spread further within our global community. The module explains what the virus is, lists typical symptoms and more.
How to Access:
For those who want to play the module from our site, the link is:
For those interested in downloading the content to play locally, or on their Learning Management System, the link is:
The course is SCORM compatible, and the .zip file includes the necessary imsmanifest file. Simply download, extract, and upload to a Learning Management System.
If users want to run the course on their hard drive, download the .zip file, extract, then run coursenavigator.exe.
We hope that this course helps you and your organization, and we ask that if possible, you forward it to other organizations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mandana Rafat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We now have 8 months before the AODA Customer Service Standard compliance deadline. Have you counted your employees? If not I recommend you start here. 8 months may seem like a lot of time but you may be cutting it close.
A recent trend I have noticed is the three tier training method. This includes face to face instructor led training, online courses, and print material such as brochures. Depending on the amount of customer interaction within the organization, you are placed into a staff group and trained accordingly. Senior management tends to receive the face to face training and the print material is being presented to front line staff in some cases. I am wondering whether this is the most effective means of training, especially for those employees who interact with customers on a daily basis. Also, how much customization is taking place? Those deciding on the policies and standards should probably be exposed to different content. Is this happening? And lastly, are the right people in your organization involved with the implementation of this program?