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Social Learning in the Digital Age

With time short and budgets tight, it’s becoming a rare occasion when sales teams actually come together, meeting face to face. The result is often a lack of interaction among team members.

At Richardson, we understand the barriers keeping teams apart, but we also know relationships add value in forming strong sales teams. We believe the answer to bridging this gap lies in technology. Over the past year, we’ve been prototyping and refining a new approach to blended learning that incorporates strong social elements to bring the benefits of social interaction in learning to geographically dispersed teams. This new approach to training works within the realities of today’s sales environment. It is one that doesn’t take sellers out of the field for too long. One flexible enough to work as a standalone online solution or combined with minimal classroom time. One that forges connections between sellers.

Social Learning Tools

Leaderboards allow sellers to see their own progress and compare it against the progress of their teammates. Elements like games, quizzes, answering questions, unlocking achievement badges all promote social interactions. Friendly gameplay appeals to sellers’ natural competitive instincts while reinforcing learning and skill development.

With discussion threads, sellers can talk with others on their team and even have private conversations with managers. They can share comments and questions, and reply to those others have posted. They can discuss best practices, how they’re using the learned skills, where they face challenges with customers – these discussions create a stronger community within the team.

Some lessons require learners to pause and reflect on what they’ve just learned and how it will apply in future client situations. The act of thinking, writing, and reflecting helps sellers improve knowledge retention and application. Sharing their views in discussion threads allows team members to collaborate on ideas without having to come together physically. These threads also help managers to interact with learners and to coach based on their responses.

Research tells us learning through social media works because learning is a fundamentally social activity. At Richardson, we have made social learning an integral part of how we train today’s learner. We have created a blended-learning experience for the digital age – and the answer to keeping sales teams trained and connected while minimizing time away from the field.

About the Author

Chris Tiné is SVP and Chief Product Officer at Richardson, and leads the company’s product development and innovation activities, including global responsibility for Content, Instructional Design, Facilitation, Measurement, and Digital.Prior to joining Richardson, Chris was VP of Product Development at TwentyEighty Strategy Execution (formerly ESI International and IPS Learning) and Head of Product Solutions at Macmillan Learning where he led a full redesign of the company’s higher education interactive courseware products.Chris brings together expertise in digital consumer and education products with a background in media production. From 2007 – 2013 he worked at NBC News as a digital content producer and digital product leader. He helped launch iCue.com and NBC Learn – the company’s first digital education businesses – and was tapped in 2011 as Head of Digital for NBC News Education Nation where responsibilities included websites, blogs, social media, interactive journalism and content partnerships.Chris is the recipient of a 2010 Emmy Award for digital video, 4 Emmy nominations, and a 2012 Webby Award. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge, and a BA from Bates College.

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