There has been a big evolution in product training over the last few years. The COVID-19 pandemic was a big driver in shifting learning experiences away from in-person classrooms to utilizing webinar software and other technologies to meet learners where they are. In terms of customer training, we’ve have had to rethink how we structure learning for our users to make the most not only of these new ways of working, and how we like to be engaged, but also the technologies available to us.
There are lots of different categories of learning technologies that could be utilized to support product training, such as:
The Learning Management System (LMS)
LMSs allow you to create learning pathways for users to work their way through at their own pace, at any time that suits their busy schedules. You can rethink the classroom experience by breaking out ancillary components and streamlining live training events to focus more on how to engage and less on how to cram as much material as possible into the time you have. In an LMS, you can utilize lots of different modalities, such as videos, articles, podcasts, assessments and more to create blended experiences that keep users tuned into the key areas of the product in one simplified pathway. LMS solutions also enable you to create certifications which can help you market your solutions by allowing users to share their success of completion with their communities on social media.
VILT events can be a great way to introduce your products to your users, allowing time to introduce key benefits and manage the change of potentially switching products or experiencing something completely new. Many solutions have features to support these efforts, such as live labs — giving users the ability to click along rather than just watch a trainer, allowing for greater knowledge retention and a much more enjoyable experience; polls — being able to check in on knowledge gained during the course or sense-check your users’ comfort level; and chat functions that allow users to ask a question to the whole group or even privately to the trainer.
There has been a rise in the use of gamification tools in product training. They can be utilized in many ways, from asynchronous experiences where users complete knowledge checks as part of a learning pathway to synchronous checks during live events like a quiz at the end of training to get instant feedback on what knowledge has been retained, allowing you to recap keys learns of the event whilst creating a social experience which allows users to compete.
In-product Learning Software
By utilizing in-product software, you can provide experiences which keep the product learning going and meet the users where they are. Firstly, this is a great way to get some visibility on your other training solutions, such as pathways in LMS to new users, but also to provide reminders of the more specialist content in key areas of your platform. If you have eLearning videos and articles on a new part of the product, you can provide a pop up in that specific product area to market these features and help drive adoption.
Many learning technologies share similar benefits to both the users and the organizations using them. These include:
- Scalability: Moving from traditional experience to learning pathways and VILT allow you to reach a larger audience, quicker. Rather than scheduling conference rooms at various locations and losing trainers due to travel time, you can meet your audience where they are. This is particularly useful if you have a small team training a large, potentially global audience. With these efficiencies you can focus your teams on professional growth opportunities and allocating time for the maintenance of your training solutions. Additionally, when hiring, you can now look for talent in more locations as you can deliver this training from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Cost-effective: Connected to scalability is the cost efficiency that learning technologies can bring. Money saved through decreased travel, hotel and room costs, and loss of a trainer during this time where you could be providing more VILT or refining and marketing your learning pathways.
- Interactivity: Many learning technologies have been designed with user engagement at the forefront, with many providing experiences not just on par with classroom instruction but often better. Whether that’s the use of different modalities like group or private chats, screen sharing, group or private discussion capabilities, and virtual machines for learners to practice on and trainers to observe and even adapt for learners in-session, the overall result is more direct engagement and instructor interaction than in traditional settings.
- Analytics: Most learning technologies allow you to pull data to help you recognize the knowledge learned and identify any gaps that can help you improve these experiences. You’ll also see the success of your efforts through things like completion rates, and if you include surveys as part of your VILT or LMS, customer satisfaction.
Learning technologies are critical for supporting product training with their ability to meet the ever-changing workforce whilst promoting higher levels of engagement during training sessions, more effective instructional experiences, more meaningful learning pathways across roles ultimately leading to greater knowledge retention of your products, faster onboarding, more adoption of features and reduced support ticket volume.