Product knowledge training is very important for organizations. Different people in an organization require product training for different purposes. With product training, sales people understand key benefits that their products bring to customers. This helps them convince their prospective customers better to buy their products. Customer service representatives might have to make a presentation to an existing client about recent changes and modifications made to a product. This information may be technical and detailed. Similarly, product training content needs to be constantly updated to make it current and up to date for the sales and marketing teams, distribution team or channel partners so that ultimately customers get the latest information about the organization’s products and their features.
As an eLearning developer, we need to keep these issues in mind while designing product training programs. Depending on the organization and the complexity of the products, the extent to which training is required varies. In light of the above, product knowledge training developers are faced with certain challenges. Let’s review them here.
Unclear learning objectives: The first step towards designing a learning program is to conduct the needs analysis. When the IDs are not presented with an accurate learning objective for the product knowledge training, it would be difficult for them to come with an effective instructional strategy especially in the context of product training as the approach varies significantly based on the target audience.
Access to an SME or Multiple SMEs: While preparing storyboards for product training courses, inputs from SMEs are significant. However, SMEs are usually busy and may not be always available at all times which might slow down the design process. To add to the problem, if each product has a different product expert, it becomes that much more difficult in coordinating and soliciting information.
Highly technical content: Most of the product training is required in industries which handle complicated products. Quite naturally, eLearning developers will be handling content that is highly technical and detailed. This information will have to be presented in a manner that best fits the learning objectives of the learners. For example, the content will have to be presented differently if the target audience is a sales or marketing personnel. They will need to skim through the content and use material that is relevant for sales people in making a sale. If the target learners are service engineers they will need content that is more technical and detailed as they require such information to be able to perform their job tasks.
Diverse learner profile: If the training program would be used by the field sales personnel, service engineer and the customer service staff, the IDs would need to factor the varied roles and experiences of individual learners and try and create a course that is equally beneficial to all. This is by no means an easy task.
Long product line: Imagine that you need to provide product knowledge training to a new employee. You need to introduce a range of products, its features and benefits to customers all at once to him through the training program. Presenting the information in a manner that can be retained by the employee is another challenge which the ID has to overcome.
How can developers overcome these challenges while designing product knowledge training courses for their clients? Learning content needs to become more agile. Course modules need to contain relevant content of short duration which is in a format that can be updated easily based on learners’ profiles and requirements. What do you think? Do share your thoughts and experiences.