3 Training Ideas from Google Sales Training

Tips For Training

I’m a day late for “Throw Back Thursday”(#TBT is a Twitter & Facebook hashtag), but I happened upon this article from 2011 in FastCompany that is worth re-discussing.

I find Google to be a fascinating organization for all the obvious reason, but mostly because of their approach to training and development.  Google is innovating and reinventing the training function for the 21st century. While the rest of the T&D world is looking for ways to eliminate the subject matter expert from the “burden” of training others, Google embraces the SME and puts them front and center, and makes them a rockstar. Part of it is a casual conversational, talk-show-style, learning event edited into short and sweet video nuggets no more than 7 mins long, and accessible via mobile devices.  And if Google can do it, so can you.

I know many of you are in organizations that are resistant to change, but after reading the article you should be able to find at least one Google idea that you can implement without a lot of “asking for permission”. Here are 3 thoughts that the article triggered for me.

Short Videos are the Future

If I give any advice to newly minted EdTech students it is this: You MUST learn how to produce video, PERIOD! This, above all else, will make you a highly sought after corporate training department asset. If you are an experienced instructional designer and want to learn how to advance your career I would give you the exact same advice. And you do not need a fancy studio to create video. Sometimes all this means is being comfortable using a screen capture tool, adding voiceover and exporting it. As easy as that sounds I still meet training professionals that are afraid to give it a try. Get over your fear and do it!

Divide ALL Training Content into Small 7-10 minute Chunks

Short videos are huge, and growing in popularity.  But why just limit the idea of “short and sweet” to video? The reality is that all content should be delivered this way.  Even if you are still designing and delivering classroom-based events you should design your topics to be no more than 10 mins before moving onto the next topic. I created a spreadsheet for my day-long classroom events.  It’s crazy simple, but helpful in jumpstarting the design process.

And like the article mentions, an entire course can still be 4 hours total learning (or actually media consumption) time.  But this allows the learner to consume the content at their convenience, and repeat it if necessary. It’s what your learners want, so give it to them.

Turn Your SMEs into Rockstars

My first career, before eLearning, was in broadcast television production. And even in the early days of my EdTech education I was wondering why training events can’t be more like television productions.  People love talk shows, and they love them even more when the people talking are people sharing information the viewers need/want. So, interview your SMEs.  Record the interview. Edit the interview into short chunks and publish it.

When someone has spent their career becoming an expert at something they usually appreciate being recognized for that expertise.  So, help them share their knowledge and turn them into the rockstars of their field. Give them the opportunity to talk about what they know best.

And yes, I know this article is mainly directed at sales training.  But the reality is that the methods apply to all types of training content.  It’s a short article, but one you should bookmark and refer back to when you feel yourself and your team sliding back into old habits.