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May 9, 2018

Sitting in a Classroom or Using their Mobile Phone: How do Reps Learn Best?

The last time you wanted to know how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey did you:

a.Look it up in a thick Betty Crocker cookbook?

b.Pull up a YouTube video on it?

If you answered ‘b’ then me too. In fact these days video is the place most of us start when we want to learn something on the fly.

What does that mean for your sales team? You’re more likely to capture your employees’ attention if you integrate video into your training strategy.

“To be effective in delivering education, we have to understand learner wants and needs,” said Pat Amico of About Face Development in a recent interview. “There’s endless data to demonstrate that today, human beings have moved to video.”

Studies say 72 percent of employees are more likely to watch a video than read a document. Also, over half of video content is now viewed on a mobile phone. That’s why the best learning systems today incorporate video on mobile devices.

Let Sales Reps Control the Pace of Learning

Imagine an employee during their first few weeks at work. They’re excited to get up to speed or get the certification to move forward.  They’re a motivated, active learner. You’ll keep their attention, even if you stick them in a four-hour orientation class or have them read your 360-page employee manual.

But Amico found that’s the last time they’ll be like that.  As your employee becomes more comfortable in their job, they become a passive learner. You’ll only get their attention for a few minutes as they’re drinking their morning coffee or riding in their car on the way to work. It’s important to make that contact engaging.

So, which learning environment engages the most? A classroom? An online tutorial? Or a micro-lesson on a mobile phone? The classroom provides interaction—there are conversations with co-workers. But eLearning, with its ability to fast-forward and rewind, lets your employee control the pace of training. Video learning offers a bridge between classroom and online, with self-paced on-demand lessons, supervisor mentoring and peer-to-peer insights about best practices.

Increase Learning Outcomes with Video

Amico performed a study where he examined how well reps mastered their messaging. During a company’s regular two-day skills course, the reps were given 20 minutes to practice role playing with a peer. They gave feedback, and then recorded their talk track in a video.

Ten days later, the employees were asked to practice the messaging on their own and record the results a second time.

Amico found students practiced only once or twice before recording their performance at the workshop. But, they practiced six or seven times before turning in their second video.

“So, if it takes six or seven more times to really attain mastery, where does that practicing happen?” Amico said. “It happens in front of customers.”

The Importance of Peer Feedback

Also during the workshop, peers gave their counterparts feedback. In almost every case the peer reviews were glowing. But scored by an independent reviewer, the pitches actually showed 54 percent more mastery in the second video, as compared to the first one.

One student said the second recording was more like practicing in front of a mirror. The sales reps were more critical of themselves than a peer would ever be.

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