LisBiz strategies: How to choose the most effective training platform

Home Columns LisBiz strategies: How to choose the most effective training platform

November 10/17, 2014; Volume 28/Number 11

By Lisbeth Calandrino

Every business owner knows employee training is a good thing. Years ago everything was face-to-face training, but then times got tight, and for many companies training was eliminated. No matter what kind of training you have, most participants are motivated and fired up about doing business. These days, getting everyone together is often difficult or nearly impossible. Then there are the cost factors and loss of time in the business. The outcome of this scenario is a lack of training for many companies.

I started thinking, where do people go to learn things? With more than 1 billion unique user visits on YouTube each month, and it being the largest search engine behind Google, it would seem like that’s the place. What are they doing there? People are watching videos on everything and anything.

One thing that is becoming evident is this generation wants information and wants it fast. When I was growing up the only place I could get information was from the teacher and school books. For many, the Internet has replaced teachers, and it’s a lot easier to ask Google than it is to look in a book. I’m a frequent visitor to YouTube when I want to learn something. According to my data, videos can be long or short; neither guarantee views, but they have to be interesting.

So if people aren’t interested, or it’s not feasible to keep them in a classroom for hours, why not provide them with information that’s compact, focused and in a form that seems palatable for everyone? I started designing a video training program, focusing on issues pertinent to any business—not just flooring. As I started jotting down my ideas, the list kept growing. It started with sales and customer service and ended with how to hire employees and time management. My own 14 years in retail reminded me I would never run out of topics.

If your business is like most, you’ve spent time sending people out for training, purchased written training manuals and brought in a live trainer. All of these things are effective, but video has its own special benefits that can be used on their own, with group training used in a blended-learning approach. A study done at the University of Tennessee showed that a blended program reduced both the time and cost of training by more than 50%. The same study showed a 10% improved result in learning outcomes compared with traditional training.

I decided to incorporate what makes video so effective into my program. I choose subjects relevant to business, select the most important points, condense them into a short, well-planned presentation and throw in some humor. In addition, I added a pre-test, which focuses on the salient points in the video. The result is a series of two programs, each with about seven videos no more than nine minutes for the longest one. (Shorter rather than longer videos seem to be most viewed.) The first series is about sales and customer service; the second combines both topics in addition to subjects relevant for managers.

The first set of videos has been out “on trial” for about six months and a second set is ready to be released after December. The feedback is they are extremely pertinent, have current information and can be used as the start of a comprehensive training program. I’ve even heard they are fun.

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