There are a couple of questions that prompt me to write this blog: Can social media be of any help for delivering product training? Can businesses today, bear the burden of their employees committing errors, or conveying wrong information about their product? Or, are there any new methods of product training that can be thought of?
In reality, we came across the role of different modern technologies, in general and social media in particular, can play in an organizational learning. It has been observed, that social media platforms have been widely successful in fostering learning through the internet. It has the potential to deliver the learning benefits in the next generation enterprises, thus, minimizing the fear of knowledge loss.
Harvard Business Review states that in 1986 employees needed to retain about 75% of knowledge in their minds to do their jobs. In 2009, this retained “mind” knowledge was 10%.
At the same time, however, it also has to be noted that the number of new product launches in the market, is pretty high. The product training managers, or the sales people have to keep pace, with new product knowledge, in this competitive world.
Therefore, fulfilling the need for on-demand learning for different products has become a major chore for a modern learning technology, in organizational product training. Can social media tools play that binding role?
Role of Social Media in Delivering Product Training
Social Media acts as a conduit for free information flow, among people networks on multiple product agendas. Let’s see one by one of them:
- Discussion Forums
Forums, Groups, Communities allow employees (be it sales people or new product managers), the liberty to take expert opinions on particular product related questions. It helps new and less experienced members, to learn directly from their experienced staff. Thus, forums help to improve your expertise about new products.
Videos have been used to engage learners about new or existing product knowledge. And the preference for YouTube has catapulted videosas the best learning tool. Through videos, you can show each part of the product, how it functions and other information.
Wikis is one of the most under-utilized, yet the most powerful tool of social media. It is referred to as a collaborative space, for developing product knowledge materials and documents so created, can easily be edited and every change is being recorded. Wikis come handy where product information is constantly evolving, and gives the advantage of being able to put many ideas together.
- Sharing and Rating
Sharing blogs is another way to convey knowledge and ignite a thought about a product. There are other members who invariably join in, to comment their views and thus as a whole, we can get a better solution to a problem, from different perspectives. Ratings will show the credibility of responses, and for any new product queries, we can seek the help of answers with higher ratings.
Social media learning helps individuals to continuously learn about products (new/existing) from others. Social Media can be thought of as a real time product knowledge source, that can be accessed within, or outside the enterprise.
Like everything else, social media has its own limitations. There are some technical challenges, such as integrating social media tools with their regular day-to-day work tools. The employees also need to be familiar with these new Web 2.0 technologies. It requires a change in culture in the organization, to allow its employees embrace and exchange information, using this new social media platform. Another important point to consider, if employees are not trained well, it might lead to leaking of confidential information, damages an organization’s reputation, and other legal issues.
So, adoption and use of social media tools in an organization, provides the unique opportunity to build employee connectedness; and all are deployed the same product knowledge.
Is your organization ready to harness the power of social media?