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Adaptive Learning

Five Best Reasons To Use Simulations for Remote Training

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How Simulations Can Ensure Remote Workers Are Job Ready

Well, it’s now August and many of us optimistically thought in March that Covid-19 would be a fading memory. How naive we were. But here we are and every company is trying to figure out what the “long-game” is in regard to changing the way business is done.

Two years ago when I launched Verbal Transactions our small team was able to quickly land some well-known clients who saw the value of using our simulator as a way to augment their existing training programs. One key reason was that it gave them the reassurance that employees would get more “hands-on” practice.

Now with the majority of employees working remotely, tools like ours are even more imperative. Why you ask? Here are the top 5 reasons.

  1. Simulation training has been proven to produce better results compared to instructor-led, video, or eLearning. By giving users the ability to practice in realistic situations exposes them to a more tactile and true-life experience.simulations
  2. Due to the fact employees are not sitting in a classroom or placed in a pod to where they can tap someone on the shoulder to answer quick questions, using our built-in “bot” simulations can be built to allow for users to verbally interact with the simulator to feel they have a guide or mentor to help them along the way
  3. A well-built simulation will allow users to make mistakes with some form of immediate feedback. We all learn from our mistakes. Using simulations to allow you to fail in a safe environment allows you to actually succeed faster.
  4. Because managers can’t physically observe employees doing their job,  using analytics like that built into our ACES software removes any mystery around how well the employee can perform their job. Each behavior you want the simulator to observe can be tied into the scoring and reporting functionality.  No need to watch a video or listen to a recording of the user completing this task, the real-time reporting gives you complete transparency to how well they did.
  5. Most importantly, users appreciate more hands-on practice and feel more confident about how to do their job. Many employees have a variety of anxiety in these uncertain times. Losing their job is one of them. By arming them with tools to ensure you are helping them to learn how to do their job well, ensures, you want them to succeed and to ensure they are well equipped to contribute to helping the company do their best.

 

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ACES Simulations vs. Storyline “simulations”

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Recently one of our clients asked us to build an technical support simulation. In this simulation, the engineers would be responding to the customer via a series of emails. Their developers were used to using Articulate’s Storyline for building on-line training. In this case, they decided to build both versions – ACES™ and Storyline.

For those of you not familiar with our simulation platform ACES™, has the ability to recognize key-words, conduct complex and multiple randomized branching, and uses speech recognition for verbal responses.

The primary differences in both designs were as follows:

  1. ACES™ set up randomized branching as to not “game” the system, the Storyline version did not have randomized paths
  2. The Storyline vs. presented multiple-choice options as which response to the customer was best vs. ACES™ allowed the user to actually compose the email. We did provide a hint but if a hint was used, their points were deducted.
  3. There were three initial branches for both options, due to the fact we also included randomization, we were able to build in Six scoring options vs. the one scoring option supplied by Storyline.
  4. When the results were presented, the user could review their composed emails with the instructor if they questioned their results. This was not an option in the Storyline version.
  5. Based upon which path the user chose at the beginning and which keywords they selected, we provided a breakdown of their score into for clearly defined behaviors they have defined as departmental skills they choose to reinforce. The users were able to see how well they scored for each of these behaviors. Storyline was not able to do this.

Don’t get me wrong there are benefits to both tools but in my 30 years of building and delivering enterprise training solutions, one thing I know for sure is, the more active vs. passive the training is, the better results you will get. This is why I am a proponent of non-SCORM based tools as we have grown beyond this capability to track and measure more behaviors and skills vs. simply measuring completions.

If you have read this far, share with me what tools you feel should be highlighted that may fall into the non-SCORM camp as well.

 

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More Metrics vs. More Completions

By | Adaptive Learning, bots, empathy, simulations | No Comments

Better Training Metrics to Measure Business Impact

I was one of the first people to evangelize the use of Learning Management Systems (LMS) twenty years ago. Now I’m singing a new tune — find a way to measure skill readiness vs. “completions”.

Initially, the LMS systems served a great purpose. But as time went on, companies began adding more and more features to it to help manage various learning activities. I worked with a client who had very robust features for managing classrooms, assessments, catalogs etc. But the bi-product of this was arming trainers with data on the consumption of activities. I could tell you how many people passed an assessment but couldn’t tell you if these same people knew how to really conduct a proper “lock-out tag-out” procedure.

In a recent survey conducted by Donald H Taylor Learning Analytics made the top spot in what the learning

Web analytics concept

the community has a priority interest in 2020. In previous years personalization and adaptive learning held these top spots.

This is great news for Verbal Transactions — as I have been preaching the benefits of more data for the last four years. In our simulator ACES™ (accelerated contact engagement system) we can pinpoint key behaviors that will truly prepare employees for how to do their job well. We are supplying the “system” to measure these behaviors because the standard LMS can’t do this.

For example: In a standard online training program to teach customer service skills, the manager only knows the following:

  1. When the student started and completed the course
  2. What their score on the final assessment or knowledge checks were

In most instances, this course wouldn’t allow the student to complete the course without successfully reaching the passing score.

If you were to build a similar course in ACES™, you would know the following:

  1. When the student started and completed the course
  2. Did they great the customer properly – and how many times it took them to do this according to best practice
  3. Did they properly express the right level of empathy if the customer expressed dissatisfaction?
  4. How well they demonstrated accuracy when keying in information on a screen or recommend proper items to the customer
  5. Did they ask an open-ended question to properly help the customer uncover their needs
  6. Did they paraphrase their understanding of the customer’s requests or needs properly
  7. Were they able to handle the transaction within a reasonable amount of time
  8. Did the offer any cross-selling items at the appropriate time

Anyway, you get the point. With the new digital transformation taking place, organizations can bring this power of more information to them to help trouble-shoot employee performance problems before they impact the customer experience.

If you’d like to see the simulator in action, just click this link.

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How Active Listening Benefits Your Company

By | Adaptive Learning, call center, contact Center, empathy, simulations | No Comments

Responding Authentically Drives Customer Retention

There is a lot of talk around replacing contact center agents with bots or some form of self-service options. But according to research conducted by NewVoiceMedia, 75% of customers still prefer a live agent (voice or chat) to help them solve their issues.

Successful companies know how to create a culture that allows agents to not only express empathy but express the Right level of empathy for the customer’s situation. Here is an example.

A customer who is calling to get roadside assistance because they have a flat tire.

Agent#1 “I apologize for your situation.”

Agent#2 “I’m sure that’s really frustrating for you.”

Agent #2 does a better job of expressing empathy that expresses what the customer must be feeling. They recognize what is going on in the customer’s world. This would be perceived as “more authentic” vs. canned and routine.

You can teach agents how to use the skill of active listening, here are 8 steps created by David Grosman that are right on target with how we teach this skill in our simulator

  1. Approach each dialogue with the goal to learn something. …
  2. Stop talking and focus closely on the speaker. …
  3. Open and guide the conversation. …
  4. Drill down to the details. …
  5. Summarize what you hear and ask questions to check your understanding. …
  6. Encourage with positive feedback.
  7. Listen for total meaning
  8. Pay attention to your responses

I’ve highlighted number 5 as this step is really critical step.  It demonstrates to the customer that you truly understand their situation and can accurately paraphrase what is going on.

When the customer senses you are truly trying to get to the heart of their issue or how to help them out. This builds a level of trust. This connection is priceless and should not be taken lightly. When customers feel you are trustworthy they are more likely to continue doing business with you.

 

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Seat Time vs. Skill Readiness

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How to Get the CEO to Notice

Did you know that only 8% of CEOs see a direct correlation to the money they spend on training and business impact? This is one of the reasons why training is the first thing to get cut from a budget when tightening the purse strings.

Why is this?

I’ve been in the corporate training space for almost 30 years now (yikes!). I was lucky enough to follow the evolution of how technology has impacted the delivery and access to corporate training but I have also seen it become a detriment as well.

When electronic delivery or eLearning was first introduced companies proclaimed “Now you can cost-effectively train employees on hundreds of topics.” This never happened, even though the vendors successfully sold libraries of 100’s of courses to their clients, only a handful were really useful to the organization at any given time.

Once the evolution of LMS’s (learning management systems) came about it was the holy grail of managing and delivering training. At first, this was great. As companies grew comfortable with LMSs they began to turn them into something beyond their original intent.

evolution LMS

Evolution LMS

As this image shows, LMS and digital delivery of training have evolved from one to many to agile. But the fact of the matter is, managers and executives have no solid information to tell them if the employee can actually perform the task the training was intended to teach them.

Technology — that is not necessarily new- AR/VR and simulations have a better approach at measuring skill readiness. In the past, these learning platforms were too cost-prohibitive. The digital demand has driven the costs of these solutions down allowing for increased access. I still see a lot of organizations trying to fit these delivery mechanisms into the same SCORM world but it just doesn’t work.

We need to explore how an organization will benefit from exploring learning solutions that truly measure skill readiness vs. just seat time or completion stats. With the availability of AI/ RPA and big data and predictive analytics, we can build and deliver training that helps employees learn new skills faster and more competently. This translates into a direct tie to business impact.

If you’re at all curious to see an example of AI/predictive analytics and simulation learning visit our video page.Videos

 

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