Product knowledge training is not about merely exchanging product information. What training managers really would like is for some real knowledge to be passed on – that which can be put to some productive use by the learners. Ideally, the format in which product knowledge training is delivered should depend on the profile of the learners.
Here are some ideas which we have put together based on our experience in developing eLearning modules in product training for our clients.
Short modules in multiple-delivery formats for sales and marketing personnel
Product knowledge is relevant to sales and marketing personnel as it helps them make a sale or create a marketing campaign. In this context, training can be divided into short eLearning modules based on the products. Each module can start with an overview of the product followed by a scenario(s) or a sales situation(s) which the sales person is likely to encounter. Product features and how they satisfy customer needs can be highlighted using these scenarios. Such modules can be created in multiple-delivery formats so that sales and marketing people can access them either on their desktops or through mobile devices as per their convenience. This method allows learners to access only those modules that are most relevant to them. Learning is better assimilated as learners get a chance to apply the knowledge gained immediately.
Blended learning for service personnel to reinforce learning
Service staff needs to be hands-on with the product and understand it in and out. They have to be quick in identifying problems and troubleshooting. For this purpose, they may have to undergo a mandatory classroom training or workshop as they need to physically handle the products. At the end of training, they might get a bunch of product manuals and literature that serve as reference material for future use. In some organizations, service personnel might learn on-the-job. But would that be enough? A one or two day training may introduce the product but would it be sufficient to gain in depth understanding which will help them in their jobs?
Reinforcement of what has been taught in the classroom is extremely important for service personnel. Also ready reference material in the format that is easy to access and use would help them with their jobs. Therefore, for service personnel, product knowledge training needs to be in a blended format – a combination of instructor-led training and eLearning. eLearning on the other hand can be made available through multiple-mediums – through the company intranet or LMS which can be accessed by learners anytime and anywhere.
Using online manuals, videos, CDs or DVDs for end users or shop-floor staff
Customers or end-users also need product knowledge training. They could also be retail customers who need to be informed about the correct use of the product, dos and don’ts while using the product and precautions that need to be exercised and so on. Animations, scenarios and info-graphics are effective in eLearning programs. Output could be in the form of a CD/ DVD that can be given along with the product or it could be made available online for access when needed by the consumer. In cases where learners are not computer-literate, mediums such as videos, CDs or DVDs can be used for product knowledge training.
Ultimately, what is important when deploying a product knowledge training program is the ease with which knowledge is accessible by learners and the ability to put the knowledge gained into practice by the participants when it is required. Training would be incomplete if the knowledge gained by the participants is not put to use by them when required.