You have just completed a training program for your Sales Force. You have given them an extensive product knowledge training covering a range of your products. How can you assess the level of comprehension and knowledge gained by the trainees during the product training sessions? Usually, feedback about the training program is obtained by asking trainees to fill up a questionnaire, but there is no real effort to test the understanding and comprehension of the subject matter of the trainees.
Research has proved that if knowledge acquired during a training program is reinforced, it is likely to be retained for a longer period. One way to reinforce training is to give assessments or simple activities for sales managers to complete online a few days after the training program.
You can use cloze activities to assess the product knowledge of your sales force. Cloze activity refers to the practice of omitting important and/or relevant words from a paragraph or sentence and getting learners to fill in the correct words. You can develop text based cloze worksheets or simple online activities which the trainees can take at their convenience a few days after the initial product training session. In fact, open source LMS such as Moodle provides the option of developing Cloze Activities within the LMS framework. (Ref: http://docs.moodle.org/23/en/Cloze).
Here are some guidelines for framing cloze activities or ‘fill in the blank’ questions:
- Use sentences or texts that give adequate information about the answer.
- Ensure that there are an optimum number of words to be filled. If there are too many blanks, it may not really help learners to make an informed choice, and might become a guessing exercise.
- Ensure that the text and sentences match the comprehension level of learners.
- Rephrase sentences from the instruction material, instead of using the exact sentence structure.
- Decide on the importance of correct spelling. Traditional spelling mistakes can be less punishable than incorrect answers.
Cloze activities are very useful to assess the comprehension of learners on the products or schemes and can be used for both formative as well as summative assessments i.e., during the training programs as well as at the end of the training programs.