Not all businesses think training is measurable, and the broad use of the term “training” is part of the problem. You might be able to roughly assess that your training is not effective, but if you cannot determine where your programs are breaking down, you will have difficulty fixing the issue. Without a systematic approach, training efforts are scattershot, difficult to assess and less effective.
Measuring to customize
You may struggle calculating your return on investment – or even decide it is not worth the effort to try. When you’re tempted to skip this evaluation, remember that without measurement capability, determining the true ROI of your training management software and training programs won’t come easy.
Incorporating the right tools is a good step toward solving any problem. Combining existing online training programs with a learning management system (LMS) that enables the customization of product training for specific channels is key for innovating, improving and maximizing the effectiveness of your training. Placing new and existing product training into your LMS and then targeting specific groups within your channel by assigning relevant courses is a sure-fire way to reach your extended enterprise. Combining your current in-person training with your LMS maximizes effectiveness of your program by providing your internal and external channels with up-to-date and relevant information to help increase their product knowledge and your sales.
Posting valuable training online is a great start, but utilizing channel certification propels the capabilities of your LMS to an entirely new level. Channel certification empowers you with data that ensures your LMS is effective and headed in the right direction by measuring learners’ knowledge of training courses, completion of courses and ability to retain and apply information in a way that helps grow your business.
What does certification mean? Believe it or not, that is up to you!
While an LMS quizzes users at the end of a course in order to verify that they learned something, a certification program can take more into consideration than just passing an online test. When completed, the collection of courses, activities and exercises indicates the learner has a level of knowledge, skill and understanding that is certifiable and more elevated than someone who is just completing an online course. Your organization will benefit from certification programs in a variety of ways, including verification of users’ product knowledge and incentives that encourage learners to return for further education.
Certification as an analytical asset
Your course material should always follow up with a test that all learners must pass in order to receive certification. Over time, certification results become useful for analyzing channel performance. Consider these two approaches:
- Comparison to goals – Do certification results match up with sales goals or other metrics? If not, perhaps the training is efficient but not all the right information is included, or the certification method is not rigorous enough. There is a strong correlation between certification numbers and increased sales. The more certifications acquired by members of your channel, the better your sales.
- Patterns over time – Having access to your learners’ LMS history provides you with vital data that will help you better manage your channels by giving you answers to the following questions:
- Are current learners having more difficulty with the test than those who took it in the past? If this is the case, you may need to make adjustments to the material. Analyze which content the majority of users are struggling with, and make the necessary changes.
- Do some channels show improvement while others remain static? If you notice this trend, it’s time to take a deeper dive into training areas that haven’t been updated recently. Make sure the content is engaging, easily accessible to users and offers adequate incentives for completing the course.
- Do you need to modify your training and certifications based on the requirements of different channels? Perhaps your training material is not customized for different departments or industries. This situation is easily solved, or avoided altogether, by identifying the needs of each channel and providing content that fits.
Your certification results are a preventative indicator as well as a troubleshooting tool. Use trend analysis provided by your LMS to spot potential problems in your training regimen before they show up in the form of dissatisfied end users or poor sales.
Continuity through certification
Certification programs are meant to keep the training culture continuous and alive – not just as an educational tool, but also as part of an evolving elearning system. Continuous improvement requires continuous learning, especially in sales channels with frequent product updates.
Your certification and re-training programs are set up to provide the most efficient use of time. Make recertification frequent enough to ensure that important information is distributed, but not so frequent that it impedes learners’ abilities to do their jobs or demotivates them through unnecessary repetition. Integrating a certification aspect into your online training program can increase your channel sales. After all, people sell what they know and trust!