I once worked at a company where a lot of “non-techy” people were hired and asked to learn some very “techy” responsibilities: Coding, inputting of sensitive data which contained private information and changing pricing. This was pretty much the core of the business, and I probably don’t need to tell you, it was a recipe for some disasters!
On several occasions when these folks were “practicing” or training on their job tasks, major systems went haywire. Customers were billed incorrectly (AKA: Easiest way to tick off a customer). There were overcharges and our company had to do something it HATED doing … give money back for employee mistakes (and look silly in the process). As if that weren’t bad enough: these mistakes had to be reported to stockholders which affected the stock price. Yikes! It turned out the ONLY place these new employees had to learn the systems was on the ACTUAL LIVE SYSTEM and it was NOT working out in their favor!
To me it was ludicrous. Would you hand over the keys to a Ferrari to your 16-year old kid who had never driven before (please tell me you said no)? Why risk your entire customer base because of a mistake accidentally made by a new employee fresh on the job?
One of the best ways a human can learn is by making a mistake.
The life of a toddler is all about touching things that they shouldn’t. One touch of something hot and OUCH! Better not touch that again, right? Your employees can learn in the exact same way.
“Congratulations learner! You’ve sent a shipment to the wrong customer. The customer is very upset and is threatening to leave us. It’s a major account!” Now would YOU rather get this in an email from your boss, or in the form of feedback from an eCourse where you can go back and analyze your mistake and correct the problem? Unless you have a penchant for pain, we’re guessing you’d rather learn ala eCourse instead of ala eliminated from your position!
We’ve already talked about developing your eCourse around a real-world problem so have your learners make some tough choices and see how they handle it. At first they will probably fail and that’s OK. But, knowing they can make those mistakes and there are no repercussions, LIKE LOSING A BIG CLIENT OR THEIR JOB, will allow them to take away greater knowledge and clarity.
Want to see a really cool example of all this in action?