As part of their strategy to be on the competitive edge, companies are coming up with new products every year, sometimes even every quarter. On the other hand, products have become complex in nature, with various versions making it necessary for the sales person to recall a lot of complex information related to the product and its working.
All these details could be exciting for the shareholders to know, but very hard for a sales person to remember. So,It really becomes difficult for the sales people to remember product specifications and so have to frequently get updated on the information about new products. If they do not have the latest information at hand, it leads to their failure because they will not be in a position to recommend appropriate products to their customers.
One of the leading manufacturing companies that specializes in the area of precision elements and analytical instruments faced the same situation. Their sales personnel were confused about which product to recommend to their customers. In order to address this problem, the company developed an application that automatically generates recommendations on product selection depending upon the customer requirements. The company selected eLearning as the mode to quickly train their sales people on this application. Let’s see the instructional design strategies that are employed to train the sales staff on the application.
Introduced a scenario using real characters
When the course content is to help learners ‘PERFORM’ rather than ‘inform’, creating a scenario is the best option that would stimulate their minds because of its relevance to their jobs. We introduced a scenario using real images, which helped learners to relate themselves with the course. We used two characters, Bob a junior sales representative, who has many questions in his mind about how to recommend the right products to the customers and David a senior sales manager who was answering all his questions by taking him through a training program.
In this scenario, we have presented the necessary skills and knowledge that the learners need to understand in the form of a conversation between these two characters.
Presented learning objectives using flip cards
As a good introduction sets the stage, we presented the learning objectives using flip cards that grabbed the attention of the learners’ right from the beginning of the course. There were three course objectives and each box will flip in syncing with the audio as shown below:
Used animations and images to explain theoretical concepts
It is an accepted truth that the primary impression of anything is derived from its appearance. If your screen looks visually appealing, more than half your work is already done. This course has theoretical concepts, where we used animations and images along with the text. Research by the Journal of Visual Literacy, says that the group trained using visually rich and good animations showed better outcomes, when compared to the group trained using just static graphics.
Used WATCH simulation to explain the usage of the application
Here we had two characters – one with a laptop and other who sat beside him and watched the simulation. We enlarged or projected the screen so that the learner had a good view of the webpage we were about to take the learner through. We added some more elements such as a strong character voice, good script etc. to make the simulation more engaging and attractive.
Here is a screenshot of the WATCH simulation from our course.
Framed assessments to evaluate the knowledge gained by the learners
Assessments are the way through which we evaluate the expected learning outcomes of the course after attending the course. Framing appropriate assessments that are aligned with learning objectives reinforces learning process and assesses the knowledge of the learner. In this course we framed both formative and summative assessments. We also used interactive assessments to check learners’ understanding and their application of learning.
These were some instructional design strategies that were used to train sales representatives on the usage of the application. If you have more thoughts to add to these, please do share them!