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5 reasons your product training fails

Here are some things your product training might be doing wrong today – and how to fix them!

Trying to teach something to others is hard. Learning new stuff is hard too. 
That’s why we believe in finding NEW ways to get knowledge across. 

Here are 5 common mistakes – and suggestions on how to do better:

1. The product training message is unclear

What you want people to know and what they need to know are often two separate categories. When you are conducting product training with a group of people, it’s easy to get carried away talking about the stuff you know. Try to put yourself in their shoes – or even better, if you are talking to retail salespeople, in the shoes of a potential end customer. What do they need to know? KISS – keep it simple, stupid. Focus on the essentials, and don’t try to say too many things at once. 

This is why MICRO-LEARNING and blended learning is so effective.

2. The presentation is unengaging

What you say can be really interesting, but how you’re saying it is unengaging (ok, let’s just say it: boring!). Passively listening to a presentation demands a lot of focus. And our brains are not equipped to take it all in. Especially with today’s narrow attention spans, there needs to be something in there to spark engagement. Just reading or listening comes last in the hierarchy of engaging learning experiences. However, if the receiver is motivated to take action, to do something – well, that increases engagement exponentially.
Validating the knowledge through a simple multiple choice quiz is one way of doing this.

3. The training information doesn’t stick

There are many variables to measuring if the receiver remembers information from your product training or not. Studies show that as little as 3% of information sticks with the receiver after a week. What we need to work on, is increasing knowledge retention. One way of doing so is using gamification. Research shows that adding elements like points and rewards in learning experiences can increase knowledge retention by 40%

Other things that help to make knowledge stick: Personal anecdotes and fun facts.

4. Product training attendance is low

When doing product training; at expos, launches, kickoffs, or simply by driving around meeting different teams wherever they are, you tend to meet the same group of people. These are probably the same people who sat front row in the classroom and did their homework on time. Great people! But you want to include everyone in your product training. Make sure your content is appealing to the guys to tend to disappear after the lunch break. How? Mix it up, use blended learning (video, practical trials, quizzes) and include some smart incentives that offer a possibility to shine for everyone, not only the top performers.

5. Why should they care?

How do you get people to do anything? You have to provide them with the answer to “What’s in it for me?” in order to make them do your product training. Many people like to learn new stuff. But let’s face it, it’s not a top priority in a busy day to actively make the choice of sitting down and focusing on storing new information in your brain. That’s why we need incentives. Incentive theory states that “people are pulled toward behaviors that lead to rewards and pushed away from actions that might lead to negative consequences”.
Simply put, you can motivate people to action by rewarding them for doing so, as mentioned in the gamification point above. Incentives can be points (see gamification point above), and even better: points linked to prizes. Read our post on smart prize strategy to learn more. 

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