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Active Learning Speeds Mastery of Skills

A one-size-fits-all approach to sales training is guaranteed to fail. That’s especially true with sales forces that span multiple generations and learning styles. What it takes to engage all kinds of learners is an approach to training that is flexible, personalized, bite-sized, and active.

At Richardson, we believe a blended-learning approach is needed to meet learners where they already are. Learning methodology should be constructed of independent blocks of content that build on one another. Each topic should deliver layers of content so learners can proceed at their own pace and dive deeper into topics of interest.

To promote active learning of skills and behaviors takes a systematic approach to learning and practice. At Richardson, we have identified four components to simplify the process:

1) See It. In this initial stage, learners are introduced to fundamental concepts, including why they are important, the behavioral science behind them, and best practices. Lessons should establish a common language for discussing the topic and expressing what it means within the learner’s organization. Scenario-based videos can be used to demonstrate both effective and ineffective behaviors, with learners challenged to identify the differences.

2) Try It. The next step is for learners to make decisions based on what they’ve learned. Again, videos can be used, with learners selecting from several possible responses to scenarios. Feedback allows learners to see whether or not they truly understand the lesson while learning even more about the topic.

3) Check It. At this stage, learners find a more structured assessment consisting of questions about the topic. Responses would be captured and scored on a dashboard to validate learning.

4) Apply It. Now, learners should be able to describe on-the-job scenarios for using what they have learned. Responses could be posted in discussion threads on workplace platforms, where peers can comment and managers can coach to responses and comments.

These four steps would occur before learners ever attend a training workshop, with each component accessed from a cloud-based platform on the learner’s smartphone, tablet, or laptop. In essence, learning is through the strategy of a flipped classroom, where fundamental concepts are reviewed before any time is spent in workshops. These self-contained lessons are best delivered in bite-sized chunks of information — with videos, exercises, and games to make learning easier and faster to understand and apply in practice.

Such active learning elements appeal to learning styles across generations. Millennials and Generation Z — the generations born since 1980 — are known as digital natives, who have great comfort with screen technology and also have short attention spans. Baby boomers appreciate sequential learning paths with relevant content that is easy to access. The rich assets that can be embedded in a blended-learning platform would appeal to all learners, aiding with the quick mastery of skills. Additionally, such a platform could progressively adapt to each learner’s pace, keeping them on time and goal.

At Richardson, we know our proven content gives sales professionals the power to sell. By combining it with the latest delivery technology and embedding active learning methods, we can deliver highly effective training that minimizes time away from the field and maximizes results from sellers across generations.

About the Author

Richardson is a global sales training and performance improvement company. Our goal is to transform every buyer experience by empowering sellers with critical skills so they can create value to buyers and drive meaningful conversations. Our methodology combines a market proven sales and coaching curriculum with an innovative and customizable approach to learning that ensures your sales teams learn, master, and apply those behaviors where and when it matters most — in front of your customers. It’s our job to anticipate change in your industry so that your sales team can focus on fostering long-term relationships, becoming indispensable partners for their buyers.

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