Consider the scene adapted from an article in Educause Quarterly (Corbeil & Valdes-Corbeil, 2007): Jason, a 29-year Sales Executive of ABC Inc., woke up early Friday morning to download the previous week’s Product X’s classroom training recording as a podcast to his iPod. As he got into his car for the one-hour commute to the customer’s office where he was expected to make a sales presentation, he put on his ear buds and began to listen to the Product Training Manager’s session on how Product X compares with its competitors, feature by feature. The session ended as he entered the parking lot of Star Bucks, where he had planned to meet his colleague, Paula, en route to the customer’s.
Nelson Mandela’s passing was not unexpected or shocking. He was a man full of years. Still, we all immediately felt a sense of great loss, as though a person very close to us died – a member of our own family, a father or grandfather, perhaps? How could a man invoke such a response from countless people, cutting across nations, races, religions and generations?
We, the people of India, greet the people of a great nation, United States of America on their 237th Independence Day, one democracy to the other, one free nation to another. It is indeed a time for rightful celebration on achieving yet another year of being independent and free.
Over the last 12 years we have developed eLearning courses for many organizations. In some organizations the initiative was well received, but in some others, it did not have the desired success envisioned by the management. Based on our research and interactions with clients and end-users, we have identified three main reasons why eLearning could not provide the desired ROI for organizations.
It goes without saying that if you don’t know your product well enough, you can’t sell it. Here, I am talking about a complex product, rather than simple ones that don’t demand any great explanation of their workings or have become so common place that everybody knows how they work.
There are age-old concepts called Empathy and Ego drive. And, it says that as a good sales person you need both. A sales person, who lacks either empathy or ego drive, can never sell. Do you agree?
Many people think that effective selling is the result of good communication. Agreed, but when they talk about communication skills, they only refer to the talking part and very conveniently forget about the listening part. There is a misconception that if a person speaks well, it means that he or she has good communication skills.
This month’s Big Question in Learning Circuits is, “What questions are you no longer asking? What are your new questions?”
I have been in the field of Human Performance Improvement for the last 25 years and in e-learning for the last 10. I have restricted my write-up only to e-learning custom courseware development, which is our core business at CommLab India.
Let’s look back, for a change. Do you remember predecessor versions of these gadgets and tools today? Hardly. Why? Because to paraphrase Alvin Toffler in Future Shock, technology feeds on itself. Technology makes more technology possible.
That means the new technology spawns new tools that make the old tools obsolete. The good news is that at any given point of time, there are only a handful of tech tools to adopt and master. Some are so good that they remain impervious to new predatory technology and they become a part of our daily life, always present like a faithful friend.
In any case, humans have enormous capacity to learn. It is only our own apprehensions that limit how much we learn.
The answer to the question is both “yes” and “no”. Yes, there is an ever-expanding repertoire of tech goodies. Yes, we have to learn them to stay current, if not competitive. No, it is not as difficult as it looks because with the advent of one new tech tools, some of the old ones disappear.
So, let’s work on our minds to break down apprehensions that we cannot keep pace. All these years we have done quite well and I am confident we will overcome and persevere in the days to come.
Thank you for reading my blog and for sharing your comments.
A snack in Western culture (and in most other cultures) is a type of food not meant to be eaten as a main meal of the day, but to assuage a person’s hunger between meals, providing a brief supply of energy to the body. The term may also refer to a food item consumed between meals purely for the enjoyment of its taste. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snack_food)
Quoting from Dr. Patrick Nemechek’s blog, “For every 100 calories difference in your diet, your weight will go up or down approximately 10 pounds in the course of 1 year. If you think about it, that’s the rate at which many of us put on the weight in the course of a year. Eating 100-200 calories per day is equal in calories to about 1 snack per day!” it is clear that snacks have a very detrimental effect on one’s health by insidiously increasing body weight, resulting in many health maladies like hypertension, diabetics, cardiac disease.
If we start substituting snacks for proper meals, we don’t need the good doctor’s diagnosis of what will happen to our health and well-being. We can predict it ourselves. At best, a snack may be consumed for the enjoyment of its taste, that too infrequently and in the smallest of portions, definitely not the Dagwood-typeJ. We need well-balanced meals, a major portion comprising unappetizing things like raw vegetables to maintain good health. We should not lose sight of the fact that we eat to live and not to enjoy the taste of what we eat.
Continuing in the same line of thinking, if we think that we can substitute serious, focused study that involves hours of hard work to gain deep insights into a subject with “knowledge” gained from twittering or similar kinds of exchanges in social networking, we are fooling ourselves. It applies to e-learning too, a domain in which our company operates. In my last month’s blog, Learning Predictions – 2010, I mentioned the increasing demand for quick-fix learning solutions. Organizations are asking for more learning “pills” rather than instructionally sound comprehensive e-learning courses that have been subjected to adhere to robust learning design principles and processes. Well, Alvin Toffler predicted this craving for impermanence and shortcuts decades ago. It is now every much here, whether we like it or not.
So, what do we do, as learning professionals? Our professional values and ethics will guide us. We will have to advise our customers what is best for them in the long run, what is important but not urgent.
In the language of arithmetical ratios, a snack is to nutrition is as twittering is to learning.
Thank you for reading my blog and for sharing your comments.