Most of the organizations hire people based on their communication skills rather than their educational backgrounds. Pharmaceutical organizations hire such people because sales reps need more communication skills in order to develop a long-term business relationship with doctors. Along with good communication, sales reps should also have a very good knowledge about the company products because it is they who have to convince doctors who are more knowledgeable than them in matters related to a disease.
In order to build their efficiencies, a significant amount of budget goes into employee development and e-learning stands out to be the best training method. Developing curriculum based e-learning courses to know the basics will be a refresher for the trainees before they actually join the classroom sessions. These courses help improve the skills, knowledge, and capabilities of your sales reps, which in turn lead to organizational success and development. Right content will help the sales staff to meet the current objectives and specific skills. However, it is only fair to say that not all but only a few people can remember and apply the newly acquired knowledge.
Being a training manager, when you outsource work to e-learning vendors, ensure that they have a definite process in place and follow the Agile process. The importance and benefits of using an agile process ,which benefits both the parties, are given below. The agile process consists of 3 phases.
Phase 1 – Finalizing the Scope and Strategy from Customer/SME
After receiving your inputs, the e-learning vendor first analyzes the ‘raw’ inputs and seeks clarification from the SME to bridge the gaps in the content, if any. After analyzing the inputs, the vendor needs to formulate a proper strategy for the development of the curriculum in quick time. The vendor also formulates a suitable instructional design strategy and decides on the right authoring tool(s) to develop the course.
For instance, if the e-learning content is used for developing a curriculum for explaining the effects of a particular drug, the course developer will explain the objectives of the curriculum and provide a brief course introduction. E-learning course will begin with the basics, anatomy, and physiology in the first module. This could be followed by comprehensive explanation of the disease, which is caused due to improper functioning of an organ, followed by the details of the drug to cure that particular disease. Information about the competitors is also included in order to convince the doctor to prescribe their company’s drug.
- Module 1 - The introductory module should cover the human anatomy and physiology such as different parts of the organs and its functions.
- Module 2 – What happens if a particular organ functions abnormally? What are its symptoms? What other associated diseases does it cause?
- Module 3 - What drug is suitable for such a disease? What is its composition, dosage, mode of action, indications, contraindications, and side effects?
Online training courses must definitely tie up to real-life situations. Provide vendors the scenarios and reality-based examples that ideally suit learners’ position. For example, if the e-learning course is designed for sales reps, you can provide a scenario that shows the communication between a doctor and a sales rep. This will help them in their day-to-day tasks at their workplace.
An e-learning vendor will formulate a scope and Global Strategy document and explain to you the concept of a sign off.
Phase 2 – Finalizing the Prototype
An e-learning vendor formulates a suitable instructional design strategy and decides on the right authoring tool(s), which is user friendly, to develop the course. For instance, Articulate Storyline is the ideal tool to develop product training courses easily and rapidly, as it has powerful in-built features and its interface resembles that of PowerPoint. Based on the instructional design strategy and the authoring tool, they have to standardize the GUI, types of animations, types of interactivities, introductory screens, learning objectives screens and also the assessment screens. After finalizing all these, they have to develop a functional development kit and send it for approval.
An e-learning vendor should clearly define the reviewer’s role as most of them are not sure of what they need to do.
Phase 3 – Alpha-Gold Closure
An e-learning vendor should follow the AGILE process, which calls for close interaction between the SMEs, instructional designers, and online course developers. They should create a storyboard using the standardized templates and interactivities and start developing the functional course. They should conduct an internal course review, update the suggested changes, if any, and send the alpha version (course without audio) to the reviewer along with the storyboard.
Based on the reviewer feedback, the e-learning vendor will update the feedback in SB and return it for your approval. Once the feedback is updated, the e-learning vendor will send the audio script for recording. Along with the audio synch, the feedback is updated in the course and the gold version (course with audio) is sent for your review.
End-to-end curriculum-based e-learning modules using the Agile process will help in creating effective, engaging, and knowledgeable courses, which will in turn help the sales reps in building their efficiency and increasing their skill set.
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