Educating and training employees on the product knowledge and selling skills are paramount to the success of the organization. If one looks at the history, most organizations offer classroom training courses to impart knowledge on new products, and sales tips to increase efficiency. But as the product profile and business grows, the challenge is to reach out to all the employees on a regular basis. Complementing classroom training with robust e-learning is a possible solution that reaps many benefits for organizations, irrespective of their varying product lines and audience profiles.
It is true that e-learning is an effective learning medium yet, it is important to create learning solutions that align to the needs of the learners. A variety of courses that cater to the multiple varying needs of learners, is the best route to take. The course catalogue may include courses on enhancing business acumen, developing organizational knowledge, and acquiring pertinent product information. Together, a well-rounded course library can provide the learners the knowledge and confidence required to sell well.
There are various hurdles in creating strong product training for varying audiences are many, but the common ones are:
• The learner profile often comprises people of diverse and contrasting socio-economic and educational backgrounds. The course content should be developed keeping in mind the diversity of the audience.
• Also, many learners have little exposure to technology-aided learning. The e-courses need to address this duality of imparting a lot of information but in a way that would not overwhelm the learner.
We can create e-learning that addresses the specific needs and requirements of the learners for effective product training by following certain design strategies, which are:
• Text should be kept minimal and use a lot of graphics to impart knowledge. The courses can be accompanied by a voiceover to compensate for the minimalistic on-screen text.
• A conscious effort should be made to create small nuggets of knowledge that would keep the learners attentive. On an average, each course should be not more than 15–30 minutes long, with ample relief provided through graphics, conversations, and audio.
• Navigation and course structure should be simplistic, and reduce the number of clicks for ease of use. Include only purposeful clicks, giving the learner more time to concentrate on the course content, rather than on navigation details. Themes and figures can be introduced to strike a chord with the varied audience. With the introduction of generic themes and recognizable figures, the learners will connect more with the course content.
• Keeping in mind that many learners may have limited internet access, it is a good idea to equip the e-courses with features that support slow internet connections. For instance, a background buffering feature can ensure smooth transitioning of pages, even with slow internet connections.
• It is also a good idea to include a range of easy to download material along with each e-course, encapsulating the main learning of the course. This allows the learners to study offline. They are also able to take printouts for just-in-time learning re-enforcements, especially required when making sales calls.
• The courses can also be localized into regional languages to cater to the learners who are not proficient in English.
When created with appropriate design strategies, e-learning has a lot to offer in the area of product training — in terms of information and for the sustained support that enhances selling skills. Learners can undertake online training — whenever and wherever they prefer —to learn and perform better.