When you receive a call to do a face-to-face course, you have the feeling that on that day you will break with the routine. It is an opportunity to receive knowledge and socialize with your classmates. But, when you are summoned to an e-learning course, you usually perceive it as “extra work that consumes part of my time”.
The main advantage of e-learning is to offer flexibility to train at your own pace. Find the time in which to prioritize the course between your personal schedule and the usual work overload. Even so, it leads to imposing the inaction of daily routines, without finding an ideal time to train.
If the course deserves to be taught, it is convenient to allow the employees to do it during working hours. Online courses allow companies to save travel costs and collect content in a repository that can always be consulted. The problem is that, once initiated, they suffer a high dropout rate. The European School of Business Management (EUDE) published a few years ago that, worldwide, only 10% of those who start MOOC courses finish them. In Spain, the value amounts to 23%.
The intrinsic motivation
In the Siltom Institute team we have been striving for years to optimize the intrinsic motivation of people to learn, and in this post we want to share our experience, reflections and more powerful formats of e-learning to get the workers’ engagement. Intrinsic motivation is what gets people to do something voluntarily for the mere personal satisfaction in doing so and without receiving any reward.
Currently, the activities and behaviors that allow focusing attention for a short time in the same activity triumph: the secret of the success of social networks. For most professionals, it is very boring to sit at a computer for long sessions and read extensive agendas. In contrast, the structure of microlearning is much more popular because it is the course that adapts to the employee’s time and not the other way around. It only requires having brief moments, about 10 minutes, 2-3 times a week. For example, while waiting for a client to meet you, on the subway or having a coffee.
The mobile application format is very welcome because it facilitates the accessibility to the training contents from any time, place or device. We observed that more than 80% of users answered questions from our neurodidactic videogame Trainapp on weekends, demonstrating clearly that they consider it more a motivating activity with which to de-stress, than a job they need to disconnect.
In the field of the most attractive formats, without a doubt the strategy reigns conceived for it is the gamification. In our particular case, we implement scientific methodologies to consolidate knowledge in diverse professional targets, with predominance of commercial networks or prescribers / distributors, incorporating multiple reviews of the same concepts among other strategies, which could be unbearable if we do not integrate them into good ones. gamification dynamics.
Gamification provides this environment of positive emotionality so synergistic with learning, and this implies that participation is voluntary, preferably offering a long period to allow the employee to choose the days in which he is really motivated and focused to assimilate and retain the concepts learned. .
How can a game become an experience that promotes intrinsic motivation?
When designing the dynamics of a game, it must be clear that they are not only attractive for competitive profiles. This segment of players are a very small minority (1%). The dynamics and objectives of a training game should offer more attractive experiences than the prize that each company could establish for the winners, an extrinsic motivation difficult to everyone’s liking.
Mainly, many elements of social interaction should be incorporated among those who play, and give the option of self-improvement until reaching an excellent level of knowledge, regardless of what the rest of the classmates do.
When employees are called to participate in a training game, they should appreciate the trainer’s objective to help facilitate learning, instead of interpreting that they will be subjected to an aggressive test that confronts them against each other. Nobody will be left in evidence and, for this, it is better to keep the “worst” players anonymous. It is important to argue the reasons why a game has been chosen as an innovative and efficient school format. If the trainer exposes them to their employees, their convening power will grow.
To us, the solid scientific basis that supports the functionality of Trainapp, helps us a lot so that users understand well that it is not a simple game to spend an entertaining time, but it is a tool of formative effectiveness. Without this introductory explanation, some people might consider the game a playful activity or “waste of time”.
It is convenient to communicate the importance that is given to the project of training gamification in different hierarchies of the company, with special commitment of the direct boss of the team to be trained. In projects in sales networks or pharmacies, for example, we observe large differences in the volume of access to the application. The number of accesses grows in teams where the regional manager or pharmacist is very involved in the game.
If the appearance of the application predominates an attractive and colorful graphic environment, with a mission and intuitive dynamics that allow you to play without receiving instructions for it, regarding letters and numbers, the experience will be perceived as more fun.
“Learn is to advance”
In the case of Trainapp, we wanted to convey the metaphor that “learning is moving forward” and we chose the context of the thread of the journey of a train, which traverses an itinerary of training pills in the form of stations, where the user enters and interacts with the content as an interactive quiz, reflecting each concept associated with visual messages and favoring learning from the error.
The rankings and achievements are elements that can not be missing in any game. The comparison of average scores of the members of each team, means that it is not necessary for the teams to have the same number of people that integrate them and it is an opportunity to do team-building. Even uncompetitive people are attracted to win when they are part of a team they do not want to disappoint. The collective effort helps everyone to advance and learn. In our game, teams can earn extra points by creating questions and sharing their know-how.
Another motivating factor is that the emotion of identifying who wins is guaranteed until the end. In our case, we achieved it by remarkably pondering the points that the final season of the game grants, and therefore until all the users do not surpass it, it is not possible to intuit clearly who will lead the ranking.
It is interesting that the winners of the rankings communicate in an event. In the professional environment, recognizing the notoriety of good practices is more important than the award received. When we consolidate the strategic formation in commercial networks, it works very well to give recognition to as many commercial delegates as possible, generating applause or delivering small prizes.
Conoce el videojuego neurodidáctico Trainapp
Tell me if you have ever experienced this situation:
All the commercial team of your company (86 people) is summoned in the same hotel during 2 days of January, and among those who work in the central offices you distribute the agenda to give them all the strategic information they need to know and master to be trained to grow sales. Negotiating with art, you get 1.5 hours to expose your topics, although you do not know how you will summarize it so much, since in reality you see very clearly that to go well, you would need the whole 2 days just for you, but the commercial director is not willing to withdraw the commercial force more days from their field work with clients.
It seems like a drama to have so little time to deploy all the “armament” that you have prepared to kill the competition, but you put your feet on the ground thinking that if you do not roll up a lot, at 1 slide / minute, you can show them up to 90 slides, so that will be the number of concepts that you put to work to present them. The other colleagues think in the same line, so the 4 hours of presentations in the morning, and 3 more in the afternoon, result in more than 400 slides / day x 2 days = 800 very interesting concepts that have to come out of this meeting dominating to raze in the market.
In the sales network there have been 5 new additions. You will take advantage to quote them a day before and review the basis of everything you are going to explain to the commercial team as a whole, to ensure the effectiveness of the event, so in your case you will receive more than 1,000 new concepts in just 3 days.
The logistics of flights and trains fits perfectly with the target agenda, and we ensure that the hotel room has the distribution of the tables we want at all times, and the Wi-Fi capacity supplement so that we can project some motivational videos of 2 minutes very good. We have also perfectly organized all the logistics, including a super-funneled team-building motivational activity for the evening of the first day, followed by a spectacular dinner, so the event should be a success, right?
Do we leave something important?
Of course! We have not taken into account how to get these 800 concepts or more, from the power point to the memory of each and every one of our commercial delegates, considering that the main objective of the meeting is to deploy them effectively in their respective areas . And we have a serious problem: from every hour of information presented, the human brain that your commercial network will bring installed as a series will only be able to be attentive less than half the time (Stuart and Ruthenford), so from slide 20 of each talk will disconnect frequently. Commercials are not used to sitting for long hours, so distractions are even more inevitable than in office groups, especially since smartphones exist.
And what do we do then? Is it worth it to make them come?
We would be naive if we think that by sending the presentations to the commercial attendees at the end of the meeting, or sharing them in the company’s digital campus (LMS), they will look at everything again, and make the effort to dedicate enough time to learn what We have transmitted them. If your LMS gives you the data of users who have accessed the shared presentations or the number of visits, I invite you to share in the comments of this post the information that contrasts the most recent similar experiences.
A sales convention is an excellent occasion to motivate commercials, and give them the opportunity to resolve their doubts. Also, they can express their opinions, objections or recommendations, as well as discuss among all the commercial strategy of the different products. But it is not the best forum to give them for training in what they need to know, so we will need to design a plan B for reinforcement.
3 ways to facilitate learning to the sales team:
1ª) Give the set of subjects gradually
To ensure that the sales network is efficiently trained so that they can incorporate the information of the presentation of the strategic arguments into their professional practice, they should be facilitated with the learning work by imparting the “agenda” in a gradual manner. Do not waste the opportunity to take advantage of the 10 minutes a day of deep attention with each day. They should dedicate them to reflect on the new knowledge we want them to master.
The process of short training sessions adapted to the learning capacity of human memory is known as MICROLEARNING. If we had 800 concepts to transmit, we must “distill” a little the most important ones that it is essential to ensure that they dominate. In this way we can perhaps simplify 2/3 of them to keep the 250 main ones. For example, we can send you a daily email with the “10 inspiring concepts of the day”. In this way, in a month we can have reviewed the highlights you should know.
2ª) Introduce active training methods
The objective is to achieve an excellent commercial team of high performance. For it to master the concepts clearly and safely, it is essential to introduce active training methods. We could tune René Descartes’s phrase applied to the human brain to say “I think, then I learn”. An everyday example to understand the difference between active and passive learning can be when we go by car. Normally, the driver is the only one who learns the way because he is the one who has to make the decisions. The rest of the occupants, are taken to the destination passively and, probably, they would be unable to arrive again without being guided.
Applied to the sales team we could, for example, raise practical situations in which they have to think about how to solve them. The case study method has been successfully applied by business schools for decades. When having to make decisions in a safe environment, the concepts are much clearer and consolidated.
3ª) Make multiple impacts
If you are a product manager and you manage marketing campaigns, you will know that a single advertising impact is not enough to change the client’s behavior towards your brand. A re-impact campaign distributed over time is needed to grow your sales.
The brain of your commercials is as human as that of your clients. Possibly, they need more than one impact to consolidate the knowledge imparted to them in the sales convention. And not only so that they do not forget them, but also to practice them and that they happen to be processed mentally. The objective is to strengthen the neural circuits, until the response requires little attention, and emerges immediately. It would therefore be necessary to review the same concepts at the next sales meeting, or ask the zone managers to work on them at their local meetings, debating in small groups as they will apply them in their areas to improve their commercial action plan, and reviewing the results in the next meeting.
Following these 3 recommendations seems a very complicated process, but it can be greatly facilitated. For example, using as tool a serious game type quiz that, for several weeks, energize the whole consolidation process. It would be to draw an itinerary that goes by resolving practical situations raised in the form of a game. These can be repeated more than once without being boring. It will be enough for the commercial delegates to dedicate about 10 minutes/day, motivated by the addictive effect generated by self-surpassing.
Know more about the neurodidactic video game Trainapp
The goal of the trainer is to train the sales network to successfully meet the billing objectives. The purpose is that they become a high performance team. Where there are differences between trainers, it is in how each one proposes that such training take effect:
- the vast majority focus on the quality of the training content and impart it to their commercial teams in traditional formats: face-to-face courses, online campuses (LMS), knowledge certification exams, …
- those with the most innovative profile, beyond the content they teach, are also concerned with how they “dispense” their audience, so that they really are effective.
The formative revolution
Unlike the change that is already taking place in school education, in the training of active professionals, there has not been yet a formative revolution that pushes us to cross the abyss that separates innovators from the majority of the collective. The classic curve of adoption of new technologies (from the Innokabi blog), helps us to visual understanding of the preliminary moment in which we find ourselves: only 15% of corporate managers of Learning & Development will have initiated a change towards methodological effectiveness.
Some have taken this step more motivated by that of “surprising them with something different”, than by the true intention of recognizing the deficiencies of the traditional training model.
What can be improved with the available scientific knowledge and technologies to ensure that training becomes effective?
IThe trainers must know the contributions of the neurodidactic to the knowledge of the strategies so that the brain learns better. Be aware that a person can not be considered as formed, only by exposing them once only to a wide range of new concepts. Our brain does not work like that. If there are no new exposures to the same concept, in a few hours it will be erased from memory (“use it or lose it”).
Neuroscientific studies have shown that trainers are true reorganizers of the brain structure of their students. We know that forming a sales team translates into generating new connections between neurons in your memory and consolidating them. Thus, they are trained in knowing, remembering agilely and being able to communicate to their clients:
- the characteristics and benefits of their products/services
- its differentiating arguments regarding each strength or weakness of its potential competitors
- sales techniques and communication skills that allow agreements to be closed with greater probability
- optimal answers to frequently questions
- the particularities of the market in which they operate and the needs of their customer segments
- some control of sales support materials developed from marketing departments … etc.
Interconnection of neurons
Colloquially we say that we learn a new concept, when really what has happened is that 2 neurons have interconnected. When interconnected, a bridge is established between them to re-share neurotransmitters each time that concept is used. This post began with images of BRIDGES, which symbolize the degree of robustness that each trainer decides to give to learning. Do we want to build reliable bridges like the Golden Gate, or do we settle for a vulnerable rope gangway over time?
Science has identified 3 main ways that, after each formation, these new connections become robust. The objective is for the sales network to act with a single voice, aligned with the commercial strategy designed. The network must have the ability to respond quickly to each obstacle that customers in its area put before it:
To retain long-term concepts, it is not enough to read or listen to what someone skilled in the subject has done. The trainer who pursues an effective learning, must get each delegate to actively process that concept that he wants them to master. This can be achieved through experiential training (face-to-face or on-line) that includes, for example:
- answer questions or exercises to learn from mistakes and identify deficiencies
- create a learning community where each person prepares something that adds value to the formation of their classmates
- with multisensory stimuli such as visual messages (images) that accompany text or voice explanations
In face-to-face training, we usually try to take advantage of the fact that during the meeting with the trainers we review as many concepts as possible, without taking into account the limited capacity of long-term retention of new information by the physiology of the human brain.
Delivering fewer concepts in each session increases the likelihood that they will be memorized enduringly. Therefore, microlearning is becoming the preferred format for users, since in addition to its effectiveness, it adjusts better than long syllabus to the life rhythm of professionals, and does not require separating the seller from his work to attract customers. It also allows alternate concepts of different topics, so that the attention does not decline facing the monotony, and dominate each one of them without unnecessary detours.
Review what was learned
With each new review, distributed over a longer period of time, we will attenuate the slope of the forgetting curve. By attenuating it, we will progressively consolidate knowledge in the memory. This insistence does not have to be heavy, if it is framed in the context of a game with attractive and motivating dynamics (gamification). The active revisions, processing the information and not only reading it, get a neuronal training that thickens the circuits of the neuronal axon. Thus, the concepts are transmitted by them at a higher speed and with each professional challenge they are applied with great agility.
The formative process
The training of a commercial network in its products and sales techniques (Sandler, conceptual sale, SPIN, NEAT, SNAP, MEDDIC, …) should be understood as a formative process that is assimilated progressively, and a spectacular event or a succession of unrelated events are not enough. Not all techniques are appropriate for each vendor, especially if the technique clashes with their personal style, and each person should choose the one that best suits them until they feel comfortable with it, and only then start exploring the next technique.
All this process should be supported in the follow-up and coaching of zone managers, with a high dose of motivational injection. It should also be noted that commercial training does not fix an inefficient strategy, a bad objective, an organizational dysfunction, etc. A commercial will stop applying the advice received when it does not see enough strategic value, or it would not have given a sufficiently practical approach to be easily taken to day to day.
Until here, SILTOM does its bit to help raise awareness among trainers about the need to cross the abyss of innovation as soon as possible, so that their work dedicated to training their teams with ever better productivity results. We put our Trainapp neurodynamic videogame at the disposal of the training community, in whose dynamics we have integrated all the above-mentioned knowledge, and with which we have extensive experience in consolidating the formation of commercial networks with very good final evaluations on their part.
Know more about the neurodidactic video game Trainapp
The marketing and training teams of companies usually call meetings with their commercial teams. These are held in congress hotel rooms with variable periodicity: monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual.
Meetings can last 1-3 days, depending on how many concepts the team needs to transmit and the activities they have organized. They are usually pleasant events, creating team feeling and enriching. These events allow people to interact with each other and learn more about their opinions and experiences in multiple aspects.
Commercials are people accustomed to work moving from one place to another. By having them sitting several days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., it is often difficult for them to maintain their attention for a long time. The most interesting talks are those that present sales results of your activity and the incentive policy. These usually occur at the beginning and end of the agenda of talks.
Are these events therefore a good formative opportunity? Or are they simply used for this purpose, taking advantage of the “Since …” effect?
Since it costs so much money to move all commercial equipment to the same location and, therefore, it can’t be done more frequently. Since the center team has so many things to tell about the many aspects they have been working for several months, take the opportunity to tell them EVERYTHING intensively.
Several aspects can be improved so that the meetings are more effective, they get to improve the long-term reminder and they can be more productive. These aspects are the following:
Sleep at least 7 hours
The agenda should allow people to have slept for at least 7 hours and that each talk should not exceed 20 minutes in length, so that there may be pauses of attention of about 5 minutes between one and another to allow them to concentrate again. A good example of short talks are the TED Talks. Its success consists in communicating the really important messages in less than 19 minutes, without digressing about irrelevant aspects.
It is important that the exhibitions are as interactive as possible with the audience, asking them to raise their hands or interrupt with their observations or doubts. Unidirectional monologues should be avoided in which someone who knows many things goes up to the stage to explain them all. If this happens, it is likely that a high % of the attendees will disconnect their attention starting at minute 10.
To avoid distractions, it is also important that if information is projected, there is as little text as possible, trying to transmit visual concepts or combining text and striking images. The size of the texts should not be small, causing people in the more distant rows to disconnect.
In our era where each person has a device with which to actively distract, it can be a good strategy to “disable” smartphones elegantly for this purpose, forcing them to use it to interact with the speaker as recommended in the previous point. Applications such as Kahoot or Trainapp EVENTOS, where the smartphone screen becomes a remote control to answer questions, can be very useful. The questions will serve to awaken curiosity in commercials and guide attention towards learning from the mistakes made.
Between one talk and another, it is best to generate as much movement as possible, making them get up from their chairs, stretch, or perhaps cause them to walk to pick up a document from the next printed talk, for example, instead of distributing them so they do not have to move and do not delay the agenda. Moving the body contributes to learning. During the course of the presentations it is favorable to invite the commercials to express things with their arms.
Gesticulation and story telling
Try to emphasize the important messages with greater gesticulation and story telling techniques, which turn them into stories that are easy to remember and break the monotony with pauses, changes of tonality, … It is also a good strategy to devise games to actively work on these key messages.
Repetition of important messages
The speakers must be aligned so that the important messages are repeated several times in different talks, so that the commercials end the meeting with these concepts as consolidated as possible in their memory. Many times, the coordination between the talks is usually done precisely to the contrary, trying to avoid overlapping communicating the same message. If this happens, at the end of the event no message will have stood out above the rest and will be easily forgotten.
Presentation of the sales agents
It would be wise to dedicate spaces on the agenda so that, on a rotating basis, commercial people can present how the market is evolving in their areas, what impressions they received from their clients from the previous promotional actions, what concerns they and their customers have, etc. If only the central office presents its vision, it is assumed that the commercial team does not want to transmit to the office. Thus, an excellent opportunity is lost to collect important impressions of the commercial reality or the needs of the team. What the audience wants to hear is if what happens to them also happens to other colleagues. Another aspect of interest is knowing success stories that can be learned. Possibly, these spaces will be where a better reminder is obtained and reflected in a high number of people making notes.
Reflection of the audience
Each speaker should be clear about the key messages he wants to convey and start the talks inviting the audience to reflect on these aspects. In this way, the audience intervenes generating curiosity and interest and is put in a situation of need. Subsequently, strategies for resolving this situation will be proposed.
At the end of each presentation and as the closing of the event in general, it is advisable to repeat the main messages that should be taken home. It is also necessary to give the audience the possibility to review the messages days later, creating later reference material, which can be printed documents or digital ones located in a corporate campus.
Periodic training pills
If many concepts have been taught, it should not be assumed that commercials already dominate them. Our memory needs several impacts so that learning is consolidated, so it is highly recommended that concepts be gradually repeated by other media such as e-mail or group chats/forums. A good method is to send periodic updates of brief training pills, so that they can “digest” the information little by little. When exposing shorter fractions of information, it is possible that more questions, impressions or interesting questions to share arise.