In the context of the information overload that we all face in today’s markets, it is essential that we provide sales people with learning that is “just-in-time” or on-demand. Let’s have a look at some of the top companies that are going for this form of training.
Apple Computers created what it calls ARPLE or Apple Reference Performance and Learning Ex-pert. The latest information about their new products was distributed on CDs as frequently as every two weeks for its field force so that they are always up-to-date. Subsequently, Apple integrated the use of ARPLE into its training programs and developed a knowledge management process to ensure that information was always accurate and distributed in a timely fashion. Over the years, ARPLE transformed from a CD-based system to a client-server system and finally to the Web.
Although the next example is not in the realm of sales training, the principle is the same. Sprint Corp. Which is into wireless communications services found its employees’ usual reaction to compliance training to be a resounding groan. The company designed i-Comply, a training compliance practice that provides just-in-time access to information. It developed a knowledge management portal on the corporate intranet that consolidated the content of 15 training courses, 10 Websites, and two manuals. Employees access compliance education by simply typing “icomply” into their intranet browser.
If employees get to use the knowledge that they receive through training immediately, chances are that they retain the knowledge longer. Thus, there should be a mechanism where employees can take the training just when they need it. That way, they not only are more enthusiastic about the training program but also get to apply the knowledge gained to the job – which is the ultimate aim of training anyway!
Therefore, training needs to be systematically planned for employees in such a way that it can be accessed by them just-in-time, in the format most convenient to the mat any given point of time. An individual should be able to access the course in multiple formats – that is through Smartphones, iPods, tablet PCs or simple PDFs.
If such an option existed, it would be easier for employees to take a courses anytime, anywhere such as time between meetings, or as he is waiting to board an aircraft or even on his way to work if it is made available in the form of podcast! Chances are that the courses receive higher participation if made available on-demand. What is your take on this?