After introducing eLearning and blended learning in our global organization two years ago, we came to the astonishing result, that classroom training and eLearning lead to the same test results and competency levels.
Our setting is as follows:
We do new product training during our national sales meetings in Germany. The training is a mixture of PowerPoint presentations, discussions and hands-on workshops. Very lively and our trainers put a lot of effort in these events.
If we introduce an important product, the topic is on the agenda of our sales meetings various times. In total, our sales engineers are exposed to such an important training topic approx. 6 hours. When the new product is officially launched all sales engineers are requested to go in addition through a 30 minute online course and take a final test. The online test covers both theoretical, workshop and customer oriented content.
At the same time we enroll our international sales staff in the identical 30 minute online course that German sales went through. The only difference is that the course is in English (we have subsidiaries and independent sales partners in about 50 countries). In a few cases we also have the course in an Asian language, but that is not standard yet.
And here comes the astonishing result:
Take into consideration how many of our abroad sales engineers don’t speak English as a mother tongue.
Again: Our German sales team was exposed to 6 hours of classroom training + 30 minutes online training, our international team had only 30 minutes of online training.
I am familiar with the Kirkpatrick model and Bloom’s taxonomy, so I was looking for counterarguments, in order to challenge my investigations. I still have the statement of Ignatia de Waard‘s presentation at the OEB 2019 in my ear: “Certificates (=test results) aren’t worth anything if you can’t deliver the competencies”.
Looking at the product ramp-up curves in our international CRM and ERP systems, I don’t see any counterarguments either: If there is a market for the new product, sales activities start right after a salesmen has completed the online course, so the competencies to consult and to sell a new product must be there – independently whether there was an additional classroom training or not:
To my point of view, the reason why our online training have such a high impact is, because our instructional design team has a higher focus on using and combining content, pedagogy and technology in a proper way.
If you see any inconsistencies in my research, please let me know below. I would love to enter into a dialogue with you.