Client – The client is a company known as Delta Computers, which manufactures computers and peripherals. This is a mid-sized 20-year-old company with 2,000 employees worldwide. It has annual sales of $90 million. Its sales force is 400 in number. Of these about 100 are senior sales managers and directors, and the remaining 300 are the frontline sales force consisting of sales executives. The sales executives make sales calls, both in person and by telephone, to various companies to sell the company’s products.
Data Collection – The first step in the creation of the e-learning course is to collect all the information that is required to create an effective e-learning course. There are various data collection techniques, such as interviewing, questionnaires, focus group questionnaires, observation, Internet, and libraries. The Instructional Designer (ID) can conduct an interview with the Senior Sales Managers of Delta Computers to get information about various sales techniques, which they want their employees to learn and which are relevant to their business. They can also gather information from freely available sources on the Internet and libraries, and also existing content about sales techniques that the company may have, created by their erstwhile and present sales managers. They can also send a questionnaire to the Senior Sales Managers seeking the following information that would be required for creating the course.
1. Who is the audience for this course? (Managers, Sales Executives, Directors, Engineers, Administrative employees, Sales Managers)
2. What is the age group of the learners?
3. What are the qualifications of the learners of this course? (High School, Graduate, Engineering Graduate, Management Graduate)
3. What is the means by which the learners will access this course? (Home computer, office computer, Internet, CD)
4. What is the goal of the course or what purpose does the course seek to accomplish?
5. What is the existing knowledge that the learners have about this topic? (Beginners, experts, proficient)
6. Is the goal you seek to accomplish through this course measurable, if so what are the quantities?
7. How many people will access this course per month?
8. How much time can the learners devote to this course per week?
9. Would you like the performance of the learners to be scored at the end of the course?
10. Typically, the passing score of a learner is 80%. What would you like the passing score of the learner to be?
11. Would you want the learner to undergo the complete course again if he or she fails, or would you like them to undergo only the part in which they have failed again?
12. What is the level of technical knowledge of the learners, i.e. do they know how to operate computers, email, Internet? (Beginner, expert, proficient)
13. Within what duration would you like the learner to complete the course?
14. Would you want more interactivity, simulations, graphics, and fun element in the course or would you want the course to be factual and to the point with minimal graphics and fun element?
15. Do you have any existing material on sales techniques which you would like us to incorporate in the course?
Analysis – After the required information has been collected, the analysis for the e-learning course would be done. The analysis would include: 1. Learning needs analysis, 2. Goals of the course. 3. Learning gap. 4. Audience analysis. 5. Prerequisites of course. 6. Learning environment. 7. Passing criteria. 8. Objectives of the course. A detailed analysis and design document is created, which is then sent to the client for approval. After the client provides their approval on the document, the storyboarding for the e-learning course is started.
Learning needs analysis – After interviews with the senior managers and from the information acquired through the questionnaire, the learning needs are determined. The senior managers of Delta Computers state that most of their sales executives who make customers calls either through telephone or personally come from varied backgrounds. The current information about sales techniques that they have is gained through the Powerpoint presentations created by the erstwhile and present sales and marketing managers of the company for internal training purposes. When a new sales employee joins, he or she is asked to read these presentations. The information in these presentations, which number about 20, is old and also there is no evaluation at the end of the presentations. The information is organized haphazardly and there are very little graphics and interactivity. The information is also outdated.
Learning goals – After understanding the current level of knowledge, the ID gets information about the goals of the course. In this case, Delta Computers wants their sales executives who actually make customer calls to learn the latest sales techniques so they can close many more deals successfully.
Learning gap analysis – The ID then chalks out in detail what is the gap between the learning goals and the current level of learning. The ID is able to understand that the existing information about sales techniques is generally what the Senior Sales Managers had put down informally on presentations. The information is haphazardly structured, out-of-date, incomplete, and uninterestingly presented. The ID proposes to get information on latest sales techniques by interviewing the Senior Sales Managers and Sales Directors of the company and other outside sales experts, and through books, journals, and Internet articles.
Audience Analysis – After the learning gap analysis, the audience for the course is analyzed. From the information obtained from the answers to the questionnaire submitted to Delta Computers, the ID is able to understand the profile of the learner of this course. The learners who will undergo this course are males and females belonging to the age group of 24 to 55 years. They are mostly graduates in various disciplines, including arts, sciences, and management. About 5% of them are engineering graduates in various disciplines and 10% have obtained management degrees in sales and marketing. They are all computer and Internet savvy and 10% of them have their personal laptops.
Prerequisites of the course – The ID formulates certain prerequisites for undertaking the course. The learners should all have basic knowledge of computers, Internet, and English language. They should also have adequate knowledge about the various products in the portfolio of Delta Computers and the features and benefits of the products.
Learning environment – The learners will undertake the course through the company’s Learning Management System (LMS). This will be an online course and each learner will be provided a login ID to log in to the LMS. The hardware requirements would be minimum Pentium IV configuration, 2.40 GHz, and 256 MB RAM with broadband Internet.
Passing criteria – The learner will need to score a minimum of 80% in the assessment to pass the course. If they are unable to do so, they will have to undertake the course again.
Terminal objectives – The next step is to divide the course content into modules and topics and to formulate the terminal objectives for each module of the course. The name of the course is “Sales Techniques to Make Effective Sales.” The five levels of Bloom’s taxonomy are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The five learning types according to Gagne are verbal information, intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, motor skills, and attitudes.