Train the Trainer eCourse: Microlearning Nuggets
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Learning Needs to Provide Quantifiable Benefits

Written By Bhanupriya Samudrala

At a recently concluded sales conference, I overheard one of the sales associates commenting that he never attends product training sessions. According to him, they are too technical, boring and are in no way helpful in selling. He’d rather spend the time sourcing more leads! It is not the first time that I heard such opinions. I have heard sales people lament that product specialists, who train sales people, fail to respond to the needs of the sales guys.

Similarly, one of our clients had shared that they have made several eLearning modules available for their employees online, but very few have bothered to take the courses. Some who have attempted failed to complete it. What could be the possible reasons?

It is not enough to inform learners about the training programs or eLearning courses that are scheduled or are available online. The most important aspect is to educate them of its immediate relevance and how it would help them become better at their work. For example, a sales person might be interested in developing negotiation skills for tackling difficult customers. They may also be interested in knowing how to handle objections to certain specific product features, vis-à-vis features of products by competition.

This is one of the important principles of adult learning that if grown-ups see a definite benefit in terms of improving performance, or acquiring new skills, which result in quantifiable benefits, they are more amenable to training. Therefore, it is important that you provide information about quantifiable benefits to learners before inviting them to take up learning.

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  • Catherine Wilkerson

    I agree. Unless people see a benefit for them, they usually do not take time to take a trainings. As an Instructional Designer this can be discouraging because you take time to make your trainings as engaging as possible and they may not even be seen. To combat this, one may have to put a intro into the training about its real world applications. Maybe even place it in the title of the training, like “Overcoming Sales objections to close the deal”. This gives them an idea of what it is about rather than naming it “Sales Training 1 or something like that.

    This idea can also be put into play for colleges looking to add new course material. They will want to hire Instructional Designers who are innovative and can present material in ways that will show students the benefits of what they are learning as they learn it. This would cut down on the issue of students losing motivation since they usually do not see how courses like Accounting 101 really will benefit them when they graduate.

    Perhaps there could be a survey at the end of the course or training to make sure you can quantify the response of the students?

  • Dear Catherine,

    Thank you for your sharing your thoughts. I do agree with you. The learners, being adults, look for the relevance of the trainings. From trainings, they always expect solutions for their real world problems and try to improve their job performance.

    As you rightly said, course titles should reflect the essence of training material. Hence, its the job of Instructional Designers to be innovative and design learner-centric courses, thus valuing the time and interest of the learners.

    All this can be done only when an Instructional Design does a proper Needs Analysis (Audience Analysis, Content Analysis, Requirement Analysis) for ever training they develop. What do you say?

  • Catherine Wilkerson

    Hi,

    Thank you for replying to my initial ideas! I do think that the Instructional Designer would need to do proper analysis to really ensure their trainings are the best that they can be.
    This is one reason I think that larger corporate companies or even institutions should have at least one or two staff members focused only on in house training of employees. This way they can focus their time not in actual trainings, in doing more research for those trainings. There is always room for improvement; whether it is in sales, productivity, or even work- life management type trainings. In house trainers can get to know their audience and really focus training toward them. Having the training staff be a “part of the team” would lead to being able to have more in house trainings at hopefully a lower cost, as they are making the trainings relevant to their company. I must say I am no expert here, and do not have any solid numbers to back up this idea, it is just my opinion.

    Catherine