Successful corporate training is all about behavior change. Employees adopt new behaviors that translate into increased performance and better outcomes. Continuing medical education (CME) has strikingly similar goals. In this first skill-based CME article, we will explore what has, and has not, worked well in corporate training, and apply these insights to CME.
(Originally published in Training Journal)
Training provides knowledge, but without practice, it quickly recedes and becomes a wasted investment. What can we do?
Call of Duty immerses gamers in a realistic virtual experience. Virtual game technologies can be adapted to do the same thing for business people – immerse them in realistic situations where they can safely practice making decisions, and then receive expert feedback and coaching. It’s a perfect fit for many training applications, such as leadership development, or adopting new processes in sales and coaching.
Skill development requires intensive interaction, and typically involves one-on-one coaching. Therefore, moving this training online requires a different approach and different tools. E-learning tools, while effective at enabling knowledge acquisition, are woefully inadequate for the task. Good news! There are powerful immersive technologies that effectively move skill development online. In this article, we’ll explore them.
This article was originally published in Life Science Trainers & Educators Network’s (LTEN) Focus Magazine.
Pulling training concepts through to the workplace is a challenge, particularly in leadership, coaching, and sales. Why? Because workers may “know” the concepts taught but lack the skill and the confidence to use them, once they’re back on the job. So, nothing changes.
Developing skills, particularly these soft skills, requires a different approach. Trainees don’t want to risk failure by trying something new in real situations. That’s where practice comes in. Roles plays at the end of a training session are a start, but they’re not comprehensive enough, nor do they provide the reinforcement weeks after training to drive behavior changes.
Why all the interest in simulation for training? Because it has the potential to solve a big problem:
Enable professionals to effectively learn how to use their training knowledge, in real situations, to change their behavior and improve their performance.
We know that one-on-one mentoring and coaching works, but it’s time intensive and doesn’t scale. Simulation technology can serve as a cost-effective surrogate to solve this vexing problem.
Do you wish you could measure where your learners struggle with applying their training in real-world situations? Wouldn’t that data be invaluable when considering additional or follow-up programs? Many of your L&D colleagues have the same wish. In this post, you will learn how you can actually obtain this data while substantially boosting the efficacy of your training programs.
Are your e-learning tools - Articulate, Captivate, iSpring, Elucidat, etc. - giving you the results you want? Are your training programs transferring desired behavior changes to the workplace? If not, it’s likely not the fault of the tool. Your instructional designers may just be expecting more from a tool than it was designed for… like asking a car to fly.
This article will explore why e-learning tools alone do not deliver effective knowledge transfer. Our goal is to show how immersive virtual practice and coaching in realistic environments can facilitate successful transfer to the workplace. We’ll also demonstrate how to solve a common L&D challenge using a 3D immersive learning platform.
For many L&D organizations, too little of their training investment results in behavior change in the workplace. Here, we introduce how the apprenticeship model can help solve this vexing problem. It’s a way to make your training stick, and most importantly, transfer classroom concepts into desired behaviors in the workplace.
Apprenticeship has been around for thousands of years. At its foundation, it’s learn-by-doing. This model is utilized across many fields, including vocational training, aviation, and medicine - but how is it useful for training knowledge workers in business? Let’s find out!
Experiential learning in 3D worlds is an exciting, highly effective way for learners to practice skills through virtual experience. These technologies are not one-size-fits-all, and it’s not always clear what is practical and effective for specific learning goals.
We’re going to dive in and take an unvarnished view of these technology to help you make an investment decision your learners will love. Then, we’ll wrap up with a fun exercise to illustrate the differences.
If you’re like many leaders we talk to, videos are not delivering the results you want. Why? Because certain types of training require more hands-on experience to make them stick – like leadership development, sales, coaching, and other areas where decision-making is important.
What’s the solution? For these situations, you can move training resources to virtual technologies that provide hands-on practice and coaching feedback, while still preserving cost-effective mobile delivery.
Let’s dive into the five reasons to ditch videos for virtual, hands-on learning and training….
What’s the difference between tactical and strategic sales performance initiatives?
Tactical initiatives typically solve pressing needs, such industry updates, breaking news on the competition, or the latest product information.
Strategic initiatives maximize the significant investments made by an organization in training, sales processes, and coaching. Strategic needs lurk below the radar and often go unnoticed, yet when strategic needs are addressed, they can create significant performance gains for the company.
Here we will explore three strategic needs to improve sales performance. They are hard to solve, and I will describe how new technology offers a promising solution to all three.
Dr. Britt Andreatta, a learning and leadership development expert and author of The Neuroscience of Learning, emphasizes that professional learning can be broken down into three phases: Learn, Remember, and Do. She also asserts that learning programs should focus more on the “Do” phase since that is what makes the learning stick – where competence and behavior change occurs.
This message resonates in continuing medical education (CME), where the goal is to effectively change the competency and behavior of physicians based on new medical evidence. In CME, the “Do” phase means delivering educational opportunities for physicians to personally practice applying the “Learned” information in realistic situations, so that they’ll “Remember” it.
The Virtual Coach
Every trainer out there – including me! – is trying to battle the forgetting curve. We spend hours and hours training new hires – only to have them forget everything we’ve taught them.
Yeah, frustrating, I know.
Because few employees are able to transfer this new learning to their jobs, there’s no behavior change. And behavior change is what we are trying to achieve.
What separates top performers from average performers? Top performers apply knowledge optimally in diverse situations AND they have developed a very important skill: Situational Decision Making.
The future of learning technology is already here. It’s virtual and immersive. It embraces Learn-by-Doing methodologies, and leverages advanced technology within a scalable Platform. Its power comes from the synergistic and catalytic effect of having all five parts working together. Lets take a look at how each of these five parts contribute to an effective virtual learning environment for training.
This article was published in e-Learning Industry on January 11, 2018 (link here)
Learn how to use virtual game technology to enable your learners to practice in realistic situations and more rapidly learn optimal decision making. A 4-step process is described to create an effective, scalable, digital learning solution to improve performance using 3D game technology.
How do we know what we know? It’s because we construct mental models that interrelate information in a sensible way, that we can test and refine with our experience. Learning requires that we assemble a new mental model, or integrate it into one we already have. These models can be completely wrong, flawed, suboptimal; or emulate the mental models of experts. Yikes! It seems we should care about mental models!
The mental models a learner constructs can directly impact the rate at which they achieve optimal performance, if at all. Let’s dive in...
Want to know a great way to squander a sales opportunity? Let your salespeople practice proper sales techniques and good decision-making, in front of prospects. Yes, you can teach salespeople in a classroom, or through meeting-style role-plays, but is your sales training and sales process translating into real performance gains? These common problems stem from the same source — and there is a solution.
Great performance requires great coaching. Sales is no different. It’s a situational-thinking game.
Optimal performance requires both practice and expert coaching from those who’ve mastered your sales processes. We all know this, but acting on it isn’t easy: Setting up one-on-one, expert sales coaching is difficult, and expensive to scale. And sales managers often lack the aptitude to be great coaches.
Technology can help! We’re not proposing a mad scientist’s experiment to clone your best sales coaches here... the real solution is better! There is a realistic, optimal coaching strategy that can be implemented in a scalable way.
As our mothers often say, “practice makes perfect.” Where do you practice in your sales organization?
Practicing through role-plays, with a sales trainer in a classroom, or on a field ride is fine — but it’s out of context: not in the actual selling environment. Speaking of that, how much time does a sales trainer really get with a sales person, coaching in the field? The answer often is: “Way too little.”
So practically speaking, where are your sales people practicing? They probably spend far too much time practicing in front of your company’s real prospects, resulting in slower ramp-up times and lost sales. Let’s not do this!
We need to build safe, scalable environments where sales people can practice and make mistakes, without the fear of losing a deal.
Of course, the sales team wants your training program to impact sales. But is your sales training program designed to improve sales performance? Certainly you’re inclined to answer “absolutely.” It’s your job, after all.
The real question is, are you using the right learning tools to make it happen?
Humans are still the best pattern-recognition machines on the planet! (At least for now.) Yes, we have suffered losses to man-made machine, in Jeopardy, chess, and recently the game Go. But we recognize complex patterns in everyday life and transform them into actionable steps, in ways that machines cannot.
What’s our secret? Cognitive Flexibility. This trait allows us to diagnose, design, and problem-solve in highly unstructured situations where “rules” do not yet exist.
So, if we humans are so good at this cognitive flexibility thing, how can we use it to develop more effective learning programs?
Think for a moment about someone you know that is an expert at something. They could be great at their job, defusing conflicts, or managing their health. Now think about how they do it, and how you would build a program to help others achieve better performance in that area. Pretty challenging, right? Why is it so hard?
Does realism really matter in training? The short answer is... yes.
Realism is essential when the goal is to create virtual learning environments to transfer knowledge from the classroom or an e-learning program to real-world behaviors. Two cognitive science concepts provide the underpinnings for why experiential realism improves knowledge transfer.
Why do so many e-learning programs focus on acquiring knowledge and then afterwards, expect learners to master the knowledge transfer to practical situations on their own? That’s like offering a course on flying a plane and then expecting learners to climb into a plane and take off.
What’s missing? Well, it’s an enormously important part of the learning process: skill acquisition. This is the skill to apply learned knowledge in fluid, real-world situations, and make more optimal decisions. This skill-building process – the flight simulator – is the critical part!