What Goes Into a Successful eLearning Course
Your salespeople are the voice of your product. They speak to the product’s strengths and capabilities and provide solutions to customer needs. Are your salespeople soft and unsure — stuttering through questions they don’t know the answer to — or are they confident and knowledgeable enough to make your product sing? Effective sales enablement and brand training will take your sales team from novices to virtuosos.
An engaging training and development eLearning program will reach your sales force where they are and turn them into strong brand ambassadors. So what goes into a successful eLearning course? To find out, let’s look at the award-winning training AllenComm built for a large direct retail skin care and cosmetics brand with over 35,000 health and beauty consultants scattered across the U.S.
Company leaders said when comparing consultants who took the eLearning training course with those who did not complete the course, the numbers were clear — consultants who use the course have more sales and recruitment success then those who don’t.
Successful eLearning Course Ingredients
Let’s take a look at some of the main characteristics of an effective and successful eLearning course and employee training.
Clear course objectives and goals
With consultants working independently, it was important for the cosmetics company to unite them through clear training objectives and goals. Course objectives will direct your choice of instructional activities, guide your assessment strategies, and focus resources to make the biggest impact. Tools like an action planner, personalized learning portal, and knowledge checks helped the cosmetics company to track learning and keep their consultants on the path to success.
When it’s not clear to employees what the next step is, they’re unlikely to take any steps at all. Learning about company policies and processes along with gaining knowledge about the hundreds of products the cosmetic company has on the market was overwhelming for new employees. So, AllenComm created a personalized learning dashboard where consultants can find instructional and motivational videos, interactive activities, searchable and sharable resource tools, and training modules in one place. Through the dashboard, appropriate training is delivered and tracked to help consultants progress through levels creating a clear path towards leadership and future growth.
Engaging visuals and multimedia
Reading through dry training materials is a good way to fight insomnia. Effective training should energize and motivate your employees, not put them to sleep. Multimedia content like video or motion graphics helps to vary and enhance the learning process. Appealing to more than one of the learner’s senses leads to better knowledge retention. This type of content can also be better at demonstrating complex ideas than the spoken or written word.
Real-world activities and simulations
Sales enablement training should live up to its name and infusing your eLearning program with simulations and activities your sales people are going to experience in the real-world will help close deals. Beyond creating true-to-life scenarios for our beauty consultants to work through, Allen provided just-in-time and just-in-case performance supports to supplement the course.
Like much of today’s workforce, the company’s beauty consultants lead busy lives and need training they can complete on-the-go from their phones. Allen provided training activities that could be tracked and completed in brief intervals. Not only is it flexible enough to fit into a busy schedule, but bite-sized learning can also increase retention. Mobile content should be easy to use and provide all the bells and whistles of desktop or laptop courses.
Assessments and feedback
A successful eLearning course is not only engaging and easy to complete, but gets learners closer to their goals. Providing assessments and encouraging and instructing feedback on both right and wrong answers helps learners maintain accountability and better transfer skills to a day on the job.
For effective sales and brand training that engages, excites, and empowers your sales force, make sure to include:
- Clear course objectives and goals
- Intuitive navigation
- Engaging visuals and multimedia
- Real-world activities and simulations
- Bite-size content
- Assessments and feedback
With a knowledge and confidence that comes from successful completion of your sales enablement or brand training. Your sales force will provide a strong voice for your company.
Good points. Recently I repurposed a 2-day (and a 16 hour live online version) course as 20 short 5-20 minute modules. They had to be standalone so employees could select what performance development they want when they want it. Two strategies that helped — and that the client really liked:
– I turned the module topics or sub-topics into action verbs and sequenced them into a typical workflow. E.g., “Delegation” into steps like 1) Match tasks with employee skill level or career interest, 2) Clarify needed results and required strategies vs. opportunities for employee to discuss how to implement, etc.
– Within each eLearning unit, I used the 4-step training structure for skill development that could adapt to the subject, e.g. screen/slide 1: a crisis or challenging goal the employee may have and options – how to handle/positive results that preview a key concept/strategy or consequences of lack of skill; 2: demo of how to achieve the results with inductive reasoning exercise about why the strategy works or how the concept can be applied to other work situations; 3: practice applying the concept/strategy/skill to work with feedback; 4: review, action plan and best practice guide to use as an on the job reminder.
Any additional ideas that worked well in other programs?