Instructor-led training (ILT) can seem like a relic of the past with all the new methods of digital learning popping up nowadays. But having an instructor and cohort in a classroom setting may be exactly what your learners need. For example, the discussions, interactivity, and social environment enabled by ILT are perfect for developing the interpersonal and conversational skills salespeople need.
A large part of sales activities consists of conversations. So, until training technology can effectively replicate the nuances of human interaction, ILT is here to stay. Granted, that's not to say that ILT is the best or only thing needed to drive behavior change. But, the best sales enablement training strategy will have an ILT component.
ILT Best Practices From Learning Theories
Anecdotal evidence isn’t the only thing that supports the benefits of social interaction during education. Social learning theory describes the role of observation and modeling in the process of learning. Behavior is seen as the result of "continuous reciprocal interactions between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences." For effective modeling to happen, the theory offers four key factors that will prove valuable for your instructor-led training design:
Attending to information is the first step in the process of learning. So, consider the cognitive load on the learners as you design a learning experience. For instance, duration, relevance, complexity, and fatigue are will increase or reduce attention.
The Method of Loci is one of the more intriguing tactics for knowledge retention; in short, visual representations of critical information are paired with familiar locations. This creates more complex memories, which are more easily recalled. If the locations follow a well-known routine (for example, driving home from work) then the effect of retention is multiplied.
Ideally, your learners will be able to reproduce a new skill after training. The skill may be as simple as navigating new features in Salesforce or as complex as predicting buying intent. Regardless, your employees need to accurately reproduce these skills. Offer plenty of opportunities to observe and practice these skills during training. Observation alone often isn't enough to create lasting behavior change.
Your salespeople need a good reason to change their well-ingrained behaviors. Adding gamified elements to ILT can increase motivation to participate in training, but your employees must also maintain their motivation when they return to their jobs. The motivating factors that increase participation in ILT may be different than factors to reproduce behaviors on the job. So, consider building activities that point to the business impact of training (such as increased sales or productivity).
Psych theories like social learning or cognitive load give us invaluable insights into human behavior. Sometimes it's more difficult to find the application to training, but the implications are clear in the case of ILT. Design your learning strategy with attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation in mind, and your sales enablement initiative will have a greater impact. Despite advances in training technology, instructor-led training is still a relevant modality.