Archive for category Vision

Why Training Doesn’t Work

Technology has enabled us to work, live and play in dramatically different ways. We can now easily and instantly communicate with others around the globe and gain access to a wealth of knowledge and information anywhere and at any time. This allows us to deliver training in dramatically new ways. No longer do we have to hold our learners hostage in a physical classroom. Instead, we can deliver training to them over the web anywhere and at any time. However, most people find that it is almost next to impossible to engage a learner in a live virtual classroom when they have so many distractions, demands on their time and nobody physically present to “motivate” them to stay with the program. In some instances they try to spice up their webinars with techniques and approaches to gain some level of interaction.  Even then, many still find that the virtual classroom is a poor and distant cousin to the traditional physical classroom. As a result, many organizations have decided that virtual training really won’t work. There are, however, two very significant faults in this conclusion.

First, the physical classroom is rarely a highly effective environment for learning. Ironically, the biggest benefit to the classroom is its ability to hold the learner physically hostage as the mind can still wander just as quickly as when the learner is participating in a virtual class. More importantly, people have become highly tolerant of poor training, whether physical or virtual, as the benchmark is so low. They may sit for an hour or more listening to information that is only marginally relevant to them. They may be asked to participate in an exercise that is not really applicable to their own roles or needs. How often have your heard someone share that from a day in a training class the best they could hope for would be to pick up one or two good ideas? Finally, consider how quickly the content of a training program decays, and the extent that a participant ends up actually changing their behavior and/or applying new knowledge or approaches due to a training course. The bar is indeed set very low.

Second, the seemingly logical conclusion that you can’t gain someone’s attention when you are remote and they can so easily become distracted is totally flawed. The broadcast media has been doing this for years. It is quite easy to flip channels or walk away from the television set, a purely one-way media, yet we stay glued in front of the television happily watching anything from historical documentaries to the most inane of reality shows.

When faced with the opportunity to provide training in new ways, (perhaps moving a program that was previously delivered in a physical classroom to the live virtual classroom), it is not a simple case of doing what we have always done. It is not a case of moving content from the physical to the virtual classroom and using flashier PowerPoint with some polls and questions. Technology has enabled us to do what we haven’t done before so why do we continue to use technology to do what we have always done?

We must rethink, redesign and rearchitect our training programs like never before. Previously, when designing training for the physical classroom we had massive constraints. Constraints that were so obvious we now take them for granted, such as:

  • The fixed number of participants in the class
  • The duration of the program
  • The very high costs and time constraints of including multiple facilitators and subject matter experts
  • The necessity of delivering all that was required in one shot
  • The inability to observe and work with participants as they apply new knowledge and skills in the workplace

When designing training for the virtual world these are no longer constraints, and indeed become opportunities.  For example, we can now work with participants over a matter of weeks as they now not only learn, but apply and then share their own real-world experiences.

The rearchitecting of our approaches to training in the virtual world has very little to do with flashing up our PowerPoint and introducing some polls. We need to rethink how we will achieve our learning objectives with many, many more approaches that we ever had when constrained by the physical classroom. At the same time we can learn a great deal from the broadcast media and start making our learning programs far more relevant and engaging to our learners. We should also be using the time we do have with learners to engage them in ways that spawn collaboration and truly do move from the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side.”  Our live virtual classroom should be an environment where there is a high degree of collaboration, sharing of ideas between learners and experts, and discussion about what the learners are finding as they implement new ideas and approaches in the real world. This is a very long way from an individual presenting PowerPoint over the web.

If your L&D organization is still asking, “How do we engage learners in a webinar?” they may be asking the wrong question. The question should be, “How do we architect learning programs that create results?” By using technology, we have the ability to architect programs that are continuous in nature versus bounded by the time we have people captive in a classroom. Learning should be blended in terms of delivery modalities and integrate new knowledge, application, coaching and reflection. We should also consider the aspects of change management that will enable our learners to move through their learning experiences in a motivated and supportive fashion. If we are simply focusing on how to deliver a better webinar we are missing the big picture and the real opportunity to do something truly impactful for the learner and for the organization.

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3GS to Deliver Webcast Case Study on Live Virtual Training at Oracle

On May 15, 2012, Martyn Lewis, principal and founder of 3GS and a recognized pioneer in live virtual training, will follow up his May 7 presentation at the ASTD 2012 International Conference & Exposition with a live webcast exploring a case study on live virtual sales training at Oracle. The webcast will be open to the public.

Transformational Training: A Case Study on Non-Traditional and Blended Learning Approaches at Oracle
Live Webcast
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
10:00-11:00 a.m. PT / 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET

Get more information and register for the webcast.

In this live webcast, Martyn will discuss how 3GS developed and delivered a live virtual sales training program that enabled a vice president of sales at Oracle to transform his sales management team in a short period of time while keeping staff in the field and completely eliminating travel-related costs.

In this webcast, participants will learn more about:

  • Specific training strategies and technologies, as well as a highly innovative model for creating live virtual classrooms
  • Maximizing the engagement and significantly increasing the ROI of training programs
  • Strategies for handling obstacles to creating effective live virtual learning experiences

Be sure to register today for the webcast!

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At ASTD 2012 International Conference & Exposition, 3GS Discusses Training the Oracle Sales Management Team

Join us at the ASTD 2012 International Conference & Exposition as Martyn Lewis, Principal & Founder of 3GS, discusses how 3GS developed and delivered a live virtual sales training program that enabled a vice president of sales at Oracle to transform his sales management team in a short period of time while keeping staff in the field and completely eliminating travel-related costs.

Non-Traditional and Blended Learning Approaches: Transforming the Sales Management Team at Oracle
ASTD 2012 International Conference & Exposition
Session #M210
Martyn Lewis, Principal & Founder, 3GS
Monday, May 7, 2012
2:15-3:30 p.m.
Room 708/710
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, CO

Find more information on our website.

In this session, attendees will learn more about:

  • Specific training strategies and technologies, as well as a highly innovative model for creating live virtual classrooms
  • Maximizing the engagement and significantly increasing the ROI of training programs
  • Strategies for handling obstacles to creating effective live virtual learning experiences

Session Description

The vice president of sales at Oracle needed a program for training his sales managers that would be measurably effective within a short period of time while keeping staff in the field and completely eliminating travel-related costs. This session demonstrates how a live virtual sales training program constructed to totally engage participants in short weekly sessions conducted over several weeks was able to achieve highly successful results.

Case Study Highlights

  • The vast majority of sales managers who went through the program—more than 80 percent—completed all work assignments
  • The majority of participants reported that the approaches and tools they learned in the program were relevant and applicable to their jobs
  • Managers overwhelmingly agreed that the live virtual training approach – which borrowed techniques from broadcast media and was highly interactive and more effective than any other approach used in the past.
  • Post-program participant satisfaction rates for content, delivery, facilitation, and engagement were all superior to benchmarks based on previous training events conducted in a physical—rather than a virtual—classroom
  • Within three months of the program, the sales management team saw measurable and sustainable increases in average deal size, win ratio, and velocity of deals through the buying-selling process
  • The program saved $60,000 in travel-related costs

May 15 Live Webcast of Oracle Case Study

For those who can’t attend the ASTD conference this year, Martyn will be delivering a live webcast of his ASTD presentation. Be sure to register for this must-attend event!

Transformational Training: A Case Study on Non-Traditional and Blended Learning Approaches at Oracle
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
10:00-11:00 a.m. PT / 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET

Visit our website to register for the webcast.

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At CLO Symposium, 3GS Explores How to Train Today’s Mobile Workforce

Join us at the CLO Spring 2012 Symposium as Nicki Bouton, veteran virtual training facilitator, discusses key challenges and strategies for delivering transformational training to today’s increasingly mobile workforce. Over the course of her presentation, Nicki will illustrate how these changes have positioned live, instructor-led virtual training as an absolutely critical component of the organizational training strategy.

3GS CLO Spring 2012 Symposium Session Details
Creating A Strategic Continuous Learning Environment: The Case for Live Virtual
Nicki Bouton, Lead Facilitator, 3GS
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Room: Poinciana Salon 2
Miami Beach Hotel
Miami, FL

Find more information on our website.

3GS’s session, Creating A Strategic Continuous Learning Environment: The Case for Live Virtual, will delve into virtual training best practices, strategies and specific approaches that focus on increasing the motivation to learn and on more effective engagement of the audience. Through real-life case studies, Nicki will provide specific examples of how these approaches have been applied in practice and demonstrate how they can be leveraged in the session participant’s own environment, as appropriate. In addition, participants will be introduced to a model that will help identify which training modalities are best suited to common training requirements in support of an effective continuous learning environment.

Emphasizing practical application of virtual training best practices, this session will equip training decision makers with:

  • The model for live virtual training vs. physical classroom training
  • The critical difference between live and asynchronous virtual training, and how the chosen modality impacts effectiveness
  • The optimal architecture of a total, continuous learning environment
  • The top five traps that inhibit virtual training impact—and how to overcome them

Workshop Giveaway
Anyone who attends the 3GS CLO Symposium session will be eligible to win a FREE one-day, onsite consulting workshop from 3g Selling: “3 Steps to Effective Continuous Learning: Creating the Enabling Architecture.” The workshop is valued at over $6,500 and includes facilitator travel and accommodation. For anyone not attending the Symposium, information about purchasing this workshop can be found on our website.

Live Virtual Learning on Steroids: A Forrester Case Study on 3GS
We’re excited to announce that Forrester Research has just released a 14-page case study on our approach to live virtual training. A must-read for anyone interested in how to significantly increase the impact and effectiveness of live virtual learning. You can purchase a copy of the case study on Forrester’s website.

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What’s In, What’s Out for Training in 2012

Having just returned from presenting at the Training 2012 Conference, it’s a good time to reflect on the emerging trends for the year, using this major event as a litmus test for the industry.  Hours spent walking the expo floor, talking to numerous delegates, listening to the keynotes and participating in many break out sessions, I’m left with the impression that our world has changed in the last year or two.  My own observations would lead me to believe that we have shifted from being caught up in many futuristic technologies to the more pragmatic development and delivery of effective training.

Here’s my top 3 “What’s In and What’s Out” list.

WHAT’S IN

#1 A Results Orientation
This top trend was not just apparent in the conversations regarding measurement and business impact, but there was also a prevailing theme of the importance of how we deliver training.  There was a much stronger emphasis on the training method as being vital to achieving the desired impact upon the learner and the organization.

#2 Blended Learning
There is a continual and understandable focus on delivering training, or better still enabling training, in multiple and different ways.  I was at the conference to deliver a session on best practices for live virtual training as part of the very extensive and well-attended conference stream on the live virtual classroom.  Although I haven’t counted, I would estimate that at least 30% of all the breakout sessions focused on what we could call a non-traditional way of delivering training.  There is clearly a plethora of ways to enable training other than putting people into a physical classroom and yet there is some sort of notable fear of change that leads people to cling to the tradition of the physical classroom setting where learners are held hostage for several days while information is fire-hosed at them.  Seriously, is that the best we can do?  Wake up and look around you, that isn’t the way we work, play or learn anymore!  Let’s step up as learning leaders and focus on the new methods that translate into more effective ways in which to develop and deliver training experiences.

#3 Sales Training
It has been a few years since I saw the emphasis on training sales teams that there was at this event.  A number of the breakout sessions were focused purely on training sales people.  Connecting this observation with my #1 above, I also saw that just about every session or conversation on sales training revolved around how to deliver sales training that directly impacts sales results.

WHAT’S OUT

#1 Avatars
The focus we saw just a few years ago that would have led us to believe that the future of training would see us all immersed in virtual reality and learning through the use of an avatar has all but disappeared.  Not to say I didn’t see some very effective ways in which to learn using the online word and simulation, but the total simulated “second life” style of learning seems to have lost its gloss.  Perhaps this is a direct result of the undeniable trend of cost cutting.  To create effective immersive virtual reality is anything but cheap.

#2 Technology for Technology’s Sake
No doubt many participants had iPads and various tablets with them, and many of the exhibitors may have been using these devices too, but the focus we saw a year ago on mobility and technology seems to have diminished.  Once again, I would suggest that this is the result of tightening budgets and a focus on what we can do today to impact results.  It is no longer about the technology itself–it’s about how we enable effective learning.

#3 Motivation Masquerading as Learning
For far too many years we have seen what I would call motivational events, games or speakers being used in the training landscape.  While there is nothing wrong with a good motivational event to “pump up” the crowd, these can’t be mistaken for training that delivers new learning.  Perhaps as a result of my #1 observation of What’s In, I see the focus moving away from motivation masquerading as learning.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the motivational speaker at an event as much as anyone else, but as was noted at several times throughout the conference, enabling effective learning and delivering results does not come down to a motivational event.

As ever, I enjoyed the ability to mix and mingle with so many leaders in the world of training, and perhaps pick up on a few of the trends that will drive us and the industry during the course of 2012.

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The Pendulum Has Swung: Reflections from Learning 2011

I have dedicated the last four days to participating at the Elliott Masie Learning 2011 conference in Orlando, Florida.  I was there to present on the ROI equation when moving to live virtual training, and to provide a somewhat provocative point of view on maximizing the investment on the training dollar.  As Florida is a long way from home, I decided as I was already there, to make full use of the learning opportunity and attend as many sessions as I could.  I thought it was worth sharing my overall impression: the pendulum has swung!

From participating in a wide variety of training and learning conferences over the last few years one would gain the impression that just about everyone out there is engaged in a self-guided exploration of learning, connected with video to various and numerous communities via their iPads and socially, technically, and happily learning everything, anywhere at any time.  Not that this isn’t a grand vision, but – as they say – are we there yet?

Without doubt we live in a changed world where technology has impacted just about everything that we do, and how we do it.  However, over the last few years the emphasis at so many learning events have been about the technology and a variety of “hot” topics including social media, mobility, gaming, micro-learning etc.  From what I observed over the last few days, the pendulum is swinging away from a focus on the technology back to what can be done to enable the learner to learn.  Now the answer to this question involves, almost certainly, the use of technology, but the point is that it’s about the learning and the learner, not the technology itself.

Masie himself underscored this in a session he led. Certainly no luddite himself, and clearly a visionary in the learning space he used the term “chatter” to describe the phenomena we have seen.  He encouraged delegates to “look beyond the chatter.”  Starting with social learning, let’s understand that this is not only something that is not new, but the original way in which humankind learned.  He pointed out that there is 40+ years of research that states we learn better when interacting with others.  The point being, let’s not believe that social learning is new, let’s look first at where and how we can use social learning to bring value to the learner and the organization.

Masie went on to share how he, just a few years ago, was declaring the future of learning being in Second Life, or at least the Second Life environment style where we all interact in a simulated 3D world with our own personal avatars.  He invested $65,000 on an island, only to find it was a perpetually deserted island.  A great example of the “technology first” way in which it is all too easy to get caught.

If we then look at how we have such powerful technology tools for delivering training over the web. We can once again get caught up in the technology and deliver, albeit cheaply and quickly, some very poor training very poorly over the web.

For the sake of our learners and the organizations we work for, we have to look past the chatter.  We have to understand the real training needs of the communities we serve, and then enable a continuous and blended learning environment to support them using the most effective delivery methods and learning approaches – regardless of the technology.

When one of the last keynotes was given by Sharon Begley, the journalist who has just authored Brain Freeze, stated that multi-tasking is proven not to work and we need to turn off all the electronic interruptions we have from our iPhones, e-mail, and messaging, I knew that the pendulum had swung.

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Achieving Learning Excellence in the Age of Distraction

The Art and Science of Virtual Training

Learning in the Age of DistractionIn a world where attention rarely extends to more than 30 seconds, where multitasking has become a survival skill, and where the plethora of distractions compete for personal attention, it’s a challenge to engage the minds of distant participants in an online training program.  Many think this is an impossible task because of the nature of the Internet: people can easily wander away from a training session to surf the web, chat with friends, or conduct email.

Against this backdrop, however, there is one communication medium that has succeeded in capturing our hearts and minds for more than half a century: television. We are “glued” to our televisions as we sit and watch sit-coms, reality shows, movies, or even cooking shows, with limited, if any interaction.  But behind each program are teams of highly skilled writers, editors, animators, videographers, sound engineers, graphic artists, editors, presenters, directors, hosts, and producers.  These kinds of professionals have been focusing their skills on how to communicate and engage with a remote audience for over 100 years!  You could even say that they have raised their skills to a high art form; it is our goal to do the same for training.

To achieve this goal, 3g Selling brought together a team of over 40 experts from the broadcast media, and then invested in months of research and testing.  We engineered a totally new model for the design, development and delivery of live virtual learning experiences that merges a variety of talent from diverse fields – including television newscasters and radio talk show hosts, web producers, and award-winning graphic artists.

During the past year, we’ve used this model to conduct over 600 live virtual training programs for our clients in a variety of topics. From this experience, we have drawn upon the science and the art of our team of 40 experts in these fields:

  • Program architects to determine learning objectives and to design the most creative and expedient delivery methods
  • Writers and editors to shape communication
  • Graphic artists to develop meaningful and relevant supporting materials
  • Producers who can manage the technology and keep the program flawlessly flowing
  • Subject matter experts to bring the knowledge required for the training programs
  • Video and audio experts to develop supporting audio and video materials
  • Broadcast media hosts who are comfortable with managing a live spontaneous flow of conversation but also with meeting time lines and hitting on major objectives
  • Communication experts to train, support, and coach the delivery teams

To learn more about what makes 3g Selling’s approach to live virtual so unique, visit us at www.3gselling.com, and while you are there check out some members of our talented delivery team.

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