This Holiday Season, Investing in Effective Employee Training for Retail Employees is More Critical Than Ever
Science Shows How Interactive L&D Tools Benefit Corporate Training
There are two primary things that are always the focus for marketing and sales initiatives: the targeting audience’s background and goals (or pain points). This data helps to position your product in the most beneficial way for your customers. The same works for the implementation of L&D initiatives: Data about your employees’ background should be considered while developing a learning strategy and choosing a learning tool.
- To make your company actually use the training solution you have to sell it to the employees;
- A learning solution should correspond with employees’ background to be effective in boosting performance.
Different interactive learning technologies, such as VR, AR, game-based training, and LXP (Learning experience platform) with a virtual training environment can do the second task perfectly. Let’s see how.
Personalized experiences, controlled by employees and powered by visuals
It’s known that 85% of our perception is mediated by our vision. This means that what we see has the most powerful effect on us—but does it? Not exactly. Imagine that you somehow traveled back in time and showed a June issue of Vogue to a gentleman in a bar during the 1850s. His reaction would unlikely be the same as yours because he has a different background—different experiences, social environments, habits, stereotypes. We perceive with our vision most of our reality, but then—in an extraordinarily fast way—we process it with our past experiences comprised of memories.
Training in virtual or augmented reality, in games, or even with 3D-models is partly memorable due to its visual form, but technologies alone aren’t helpful. These tools become effective for any type of learner if the training scenario is personalized, carefully and logically structured and supplied with reactive instructions. In such virtual environments, employees are in control of their training, and, if the training is constructed in a realistic way, they make work-related decisions in situations they would face while working with real customers. All that fits the concept of active learning, which we’ve described in our neuroscience piece previously.
By the way, a Brown University research showed that changes in visual perception are effective in transforming people’s consolidated memories. It means that for whatever visual tools you choose to give your employees, if it’s visual, they would get an opportunity to fill their skill gaps, “update” old skills or even rethink their stereotypes—in other words, work with existing understanding and transform it if needed.
The early definition of “feedback” in learning is information, provided to a learner, that can be used to alter and fill a knowledge gap or to conclude that there is no such gap. That definition has now expanded: feedback is also establishing a dialogue with learners that helps them assess the mentioned gaps more effectively, work more productively and feel more confident and motivated.
Jan Chappuis wrote that most effective feedback occurs during the learning while there is still time to act on it. Interactive training tools create an environment that is needed for this kind of feedback. In VR, feedback can be provided via a voice assistant, in LXP—in a form of comments for completed tasks, in the automatic scoring of their results, or in both—all of this is in the process of training course completion.
Why is it necessary? First, communication is still key to productive relationships in teams. Second, clear results motivate: wins encourage learners while analyzing failures may reduce stress and boost performance, preparing employees for new challenges. And, finally, feedback—no matter in the form of a “board of achievements” that are generated automatically in your LXP or from an instructional voice in game-based training—gives employees a feeling of being observed, which boosts performance due to the pursuit of a reward.
Interactive learning solutions are environments that encourage learners to interact with learning material and create their own strategies for solving problems. Behind the efficiency of this hands-on approach lays the development of adaptive expertise. Classic, routine expertise requires mastery, accuracy, and efficiency in processing a certain procedure. Adaptive expertise encourages a learner to understand the core elements of a procedure, its concept, and to develop an ability to solve problems and create new procedures on the basis of this concept.
In other words, while coffeemakers with routine expertise can make a perfect coffee, coffeemakers with adaptive expertise can invent caffè sospeso. At the same time, while salespeople with classic expertise sell your product, salespeople with adaptive expertise know how they’ll be selling your product to any new market you want to conquer in the years to come.
While adaptive expertise is generally more about changing the way an employee learns and works with new information rather than changing their performance, the ability to quickly solve problems and recognize patterns and trends in a field definitely influences productivity in a positive way.
To maximize those positive results for businesses and drive employees’ performance, try to predict the solution’s possible knowledge transfer, a degree to which a behavior can be repeated in a new situation. All interactive solutions, in one way or another, have a high degree of knowledge transfer: they are based on real life and are personalized; employees can set their own goals, control their learning processes, address their skill and knowledge gaps in a safe learning environment, and apply the newly obtained skills in their work.
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