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Network Connections: Now’s the Time to ‘Ask LTEN’

 

You’re in the right place to get access to valuable feedback

One of the best parts about being an LTEN member is the access you have to industry leaders and all manner of training experts happy to share their knowledge and experiences. With that in mind, we’re proud to debut a new column devoted to making those connections and answering your questions.

Below you’ll find some initial questions submitted by LTEN members, along with some answers we’ve sourced from the appropriate experts. We hope you find this information useful, and we hope you share with your colleagues.

Do you have a training-related question? Whether it starts with “how do I” or “can I” or even “should I,” you’re in the right place to get access to valuable feedback.  Questions can be submitted with or without your name if you prefer anonymity.

To submit a question, simply send to AskLTEN@L-TEN.org.  We look forward to hearing from – and helping – you.

Question:

I’m conducting a large amount of virtual instructor-led trainings (VILTs) as part of our “new normal.” How frequently should I plan for participants to have a break?

Answer:

For this important question, we turned to two experts (we’ll do that sometimes) for multiple viewpoints.

First, we asked Julia Taylor, associate director of commercial coaching excellence for Horizon Therapeutics and a member of the LTEN Advisory Council:

“According to a 2020 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, the virtual environment is different and more demanding for participants as they feel obligated to not look away or move away from the video camera for fear of appearing ‘less engaged’. HBR recommends taking a short break, which could be as simple as standing up/walking around, etc., every 50 to 60 minutes for optimal learning and engagement.”

Then, we turned to Cindy Huggett, LTEN Focus on Training magazine Virtual Training columnist and an expert in online learning:

“Virtual training classes tend to be shorter than their in-person classroom counterparts. The most common length of a virtual session is 60 to 90 minutes. If it’s highly interactive with continual participant involvement, they’ll appreciate a short break about halfway through that time.”

“If you have more content than that length of time allows, then chunk the content into smaller parts. It would be better to have three separate 90-minute virtual classes than to have one 4.5- hour continuous session.”

Question:

What does “omnichannel” really mean and how does it differ from multi-channel?

Answer:

We asked Parth Khanna, CEO and co-founder of ACTO, an LTEN Preferred Industry Partner organization, to address this one:

“This is a great question and one we hear often. From a straight definition perspective, ‘multichannel learning’ is learning through many independent, siloed channels, while ‘omnichannel learning’ is learning in your preferred formats in a unified and consistent manner.

For example, we hear from our customers all the time about how their field reps are overwhelmed with training that comes from multiple departments across the company – training, marketing, operations, medical, regulatory, etc. – who are all working in isolation. The unfortunate result is inconsistent messaging, duplicative training and disorganized and disjointed content that is difficult for field teams to find and reference later. This leaves learners feeling confused, frustrated and burned out.

By contrast, an omnichannel learning experience is designed to eliminate all these issues. But an omnichannel learning approach takes effort – it requires cross-departmental collaboration and coordination, the ability to personalize and adapt learning to support different learning styles and connecting and centralizing content to ensure consistency and ease of access. Our customers who have implemented such strategies have seen measurable results – increased training engagement and retention, continuous learning behavior and better field performance – which suggests it is worth the effort to implement an omnichannel learning approach.”

Question:

How many hours a month should field teams be asked to participate in formal training events, Zoom calls or other meetings?

Answer:

For this field-related question, we turned to some experts we work closely with –Alison Quinn of Kite Pharma and Melissa Lowe of Philips, co-chairs of the LTEN Field Trainer Committee. Here’s what Alison had to share on field trainers:

“Most companies have their field trainer roles set up as 80% field time and 20%training responsibilities. Over a month, that would be 32 hours for training classes and meetings. However, these guidelines may fluctuate depending on what is happening at the company at any given timepoint. Launches can certainly be an exception to the 80/20 guidance.”

Melissa shared additional thoughts for field sales representatives:

“The answer depends on the organization, its expectations, learning culture and/or state of the business. For example, if ongoing education and development is a top priority at an organization, then formal training time devotion could be days or hours per week or month, every week or month. If a product launch is underway, the same may apply where more vs. less time is dedicated to formal training, meetings, etc.

“If someone is a new hire, the days and hours of formal training commitment would also be more or less for the new hire to accurately and swiftly represent the business. This may also vary considering upskilling, reskilling or emerging leader programs. A few organizations I worked for had expectations of one to five hours a week or more devoted to formal training – no matter the role, tenure or state of the business.

“If an organization doesn’t place learning and development as a top priority – no matter what the tenure of the individual or state of the business is – less days, hours and commitments for learning and development may take place. For example, a few different organizations I worked for mandated 80% to 90% of the time should be in the field selling, then with the remaining 10% to 20% of the time devoted to meetings, training, etc.”

Any Others?

Do you have any questions the LTEN community can help with? Send them to AskLTEN@L-TEN.org and we’ll find some thoughts to share.

 

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