Misha McPherson is director of worldwide sales enablement with a San Francisco-based provider of cloud-based digital marketing software. She is responsible for creating and managing the onboarding and ongoing sales training for 250 field sales personnel worldwide. Prior to this, McPherson was director of global learning and development at Yammer, and also held senior sales training management positions at Monster and Yahoo!. You can follow Misha on Twitter at: @MishaMcP
For anyone who wants to be as great as they can be in a chosen field, reading books on the subject is critical to one’s development. Whenever I see a blog or article listing important books, I read the article. And more often than not, I read one or more of the books from the list. It is a key part of how I stay current in my field.
The online training industry is flooded with articles and blog posts about future trends that focus on far fetched fantasies attainable only to those with discretionary budgets and/or niche needs. These trends generally include topics like gamification, the xAPI, and wearables to name a few. But for most of us, these are not practical trends we will implement any time soon.
It is the nerd in me, but I like it when I can base decisions on evidence from research. So when I found this study, "What drives a successful eLearning? An Empirical investigation of the critical factors influencing learning satisfaction,” I thought it would be worth reading. Although this study was conducted in an academic environment, there are important lessons for any eLearning designer about what makes eLearning effective.
Over the last few years, we have seen software companies successfully adopt a freemium model that allows people to try software for free before they buy. Sometimes the free portion is in the form of a 30-day trial. In another form, you can use a limited version of a software service for free, indefinitely. This has changed the way people purchase software, and it has changed the way people get things done by allowing people to use software for free that they otherwise would not use at all.
If you are reading this, you are likely considering how to create a deliver training and/or eLearning to a growing audience. You have either decided that classroom training will only take you so far or that you are going to start with eLearning as a means of training people in your organization. You are also likely discovering that there are many things to consider and many ways to create and delivery eLearning.
I like to read and would generally call myself an avid reader. However there are times when I am busy with other priorities like work, family, or just plain not wanting to read. When I do resume reading, I discover books I wish I had read sooner because I realize what I had been missing. Design for How People Learn, by Julie Dirksen is one of those books.
Mindflash recently released a new Catalog feature. After talking to many customers it became clear there was a need to market their courses, allowing people to see what they had to offer, but not have to invite trainees to every course available. Many customers provide courses and series that are above and beyond the required learning material, and while they want their trainees to take these courses, it’s not always mandatory. Other customers don’t know who their future trainees are and/or do not want to be bothered with the administrative task of adding them to the system. They would rather put their content offerings on a single webpage and allow people to sign themselves up for the courses or series.
Much of my training career has been about designing and delivering training on new software implementations. These software implementations included financial software, CRMs, and many internally developed tools designed to help people do their jobs in organizations. Most of what I did was teach people how to use the tool. You know, click here, enter data there, save that before you move on to the next task. Particularly in new software implementations, I mostly taught the mechanics of using the tool and not so much about how to do the job.
Over the past two weeks, I have been experimenting with ways to create more entertaining eLearning tutorials. The belief is that entertaining training will hold people’s attention better and people will learn more. In fact, research tells us that this is true.