Multi-channel learning | As pharma adopts multi-channel sales and marketing techniques based on customer demand it should come as no surprise that demand for multi-channel learning for our employees is also growing. We have always known that adult learners acquire knowledge in a variety of ways, and we now have the means to provide truly adapted learning approaches to the individual need. Online self-directed content, remotely-guided sessions, and face to face instructor-led and simulation-based classroom sessions have all come together in our blended learning methodologies, across geographies and across multiple channels.
What is multi-channel learning?
It is quite simply learning through multiple channels!
The Multi-channel learning system is a deliberate, planned configuration to create the sync and synergize the power of various media to achieve optimal learning.
A learning processes whereby the interaction between learners and learning source takes place through a variety of communication channels.
To optimize our multi-channel learning opportunity the choice of channels should be adapted based on the content, travel constraints, and learning styles identified. A landscape analysis is a recommended first step, which may include understanding where and how your learners spend their day. During the workday, pharma sales representatives may be on their mobile devices, sales managers on a mix of mobile and laptop, and pharma marketers may be primarily using their laptops. Depending on whether they prefer to learn on breaks during the workday in micro sessions, or in the evening at home in 20 to 30-minute blocks will help you to know how best to design the adapted training.
What new opportunities does a multi-channel approach to learning bring? We can consider new delivery methods most adapted to learners preferences such as embedding audio podcasts into the CRM coaching area or provide interactive games that apply selling techniques to fill waiting time between appointments. Knowing that sales representatives use their mobile devices throughout the day, we could tweet selling tips or pharma news. Consider a library of brief sound clips, videos or printed messages for field-based employees to refer to between appointments.
Just as we have learned to do for our external customers we should get to know our internal customers’ needs, their preferred communication and learning channels, and what makes content compelling enough to drive pro-active consummation. Instructional design tailored to the content, channel and the identified learning styles will surely help.
Learning is not a one-time event
Every organization needs to be a learning organization which involves having continuous learning to develop the people and their skills within their current and future roles. As we move through life we have many learning opportunities through formal classes, coaching, on-the-job experiences, journals and news articles, online blogs to name only a few examples. Even by default, we are multi-channel learners. However, a more harmonious learning journey is only possible based on a thorough assessment, learning and implementation adapted to the learners' needs and learning style.
Multi-channel learning design is based on the deliberate use of multi-sensory channels to teach concepts and apply knowledge to real-life situations. Ideally, the learning journey is seamless and reinforced by support, instruction and coaching along the way and is delivered according to the individual needs and learning style of each participant.
When a person actively requests or engages in learning based on needs or gaps they have self-identified which may be blocking their current or future success the learning becomes both more meaningful and purposeful. Learning solutions are more successful if the learner knows why they are engaged in learning and what the application of learning will achieve for them and the organization.
Mobile Learning and Social Learning
Mobile learning was discussed in a previous blog and is certainly relevant to many employees in pharma. Our connected world allows us to access learning on our devices throughout our days, bringing learning into our workday.
Social learning is the process of learning through social interaction among colleagues. It bridges the gap between formal and informal learning and is also often in real-time on the job. Social learning is already an improvement to earlier forms of online learning in that the learner does not feel isolated and benefits from the communication with and support of other learners and subject matter experts.
Learning through social media is open, available, accessible, and informal. However, information overload and fragmentation of information are common symptoms.
Some simple techniques to optimize social learning are:
- Post learning content within an online conversation, for example, on the company intranet discussion forum, or link existing conversations Re-share relevant material from other learning content to reinforce the concepts;
- Provide a variety of materials in more than one channel to appeal to the different learning styles of individuals, including eLearning, a discussion forum, videos, downloadable documents, training bites via text messages, quizzes, summarized info-graphics etc;
- Enrol employees in online or blended learning that includes online chats and access to other learners and subject matter experts;
- Draw upon the wisdom of the crowd. Encourage employees to add to and improve upon learning content and discussions so to create inclusion and a supportive community.
Allow multi-channel to occur naturally, as an extension of your organization’s multi-channel approach to your external customers. Stay focused on the needs and interests of the participants. Paint a picture of continuous learning using a variety of channels and devices. People need to see value in these new ways of learning and in order to achieve mindset change.
Be open to what your employees are showing interest in, and they will guide your learning design.Article Contributor: Melanie Brown, Managing Partner
If you are interested in our mobile learning solutions on digital channels, contact Actando.
The Actando Consulting Team