DigitalThink is breaking the mold of traditional classroom-based training by offering technology-based instruction to Global 2000 companies for their employees, managers, and customers. Trainees learn the material they need through interactive programs deployed to them by CD, company intranet, or Internet browser instead of in a centralized classroom with a live instructor. DigitalThink’s methods have been shown to compress training time by as much as 50%, and reduce the cost of development, maintenance, and delivery by 64%.
Answer the following discussion questions submit to the Discussion Question Forum. 1. What are (a) the advantages and (b) the disadvantages of DigitalThink’s technology-based instruction over conventional classroom-based educational services?
a) Advantages. Learning can be personalized for a variety of skill levels, which puts the learner, not the presenter, in charge of the learning process, lets the learner go at his/her own pace, and saves the company time and money. Technology-based instruction (TBI) has been shown to compress training time by as much as 50% and reduce the cost of development, maintenance, and delivery by 64%. Some specific advantages are: Instant, global development and updates.
Convenient—anytime, anywhere access.
Self-paced format accommodates all levels and schedules.
More measurable than other forms of learning and training.
Does not require time away from the office, customer engagements, or sales calls. Consistency of message (everyone gets the same information in the same way). Faster sales ramp-up time for new products.
Higher completion rates.
Engaging and interactive learning environment.
Simulations allow learners to test their skills in a safe, non-threatening environment. Minimal technology requirements (Internet-connected computer and browser). b) Disadvantages. Does not have the social interaction with the other trainees that typically occurs when using centralized classroom-based training and facing the challenges presented by being a change agent in a well-established area like education.
2. Given your answer to question 1 above, (a) what are the key criteria DigitalThink should use in identifying prospective customers for its service, (b) what market segments meet your criteria, and (c) what are possible sales objections these segments might have that you have to address?
a) Criteria – Criteria include having:
Trainees with a variety of skill levels when they enter the organization, being geographically dispersed. New employees enter the company on an almost consistent basis through growth or turnover. The information that the employees need to know being process-based information. Immediate and specific feedback being important in the training.
b) Market Segments – Some promising market segments that meet these criteria are high-technology business, chain retailors, financial services, health care, and government.
c) Sales Objectives – The critical sales objectives that need to be overcome are cost, rate of change, what to do with the existing trainers, and “we don’t do that here.” Companies are worried that a) TBI will cost too much to develop, b) consistent changes within the company, industry and business environment will make the training program obsolete quickly. Companies are not sure what new function their subject matter experts who use the train with workforce can now perform, and they can have a negative attitude towards anything that is different from what has been successful in the past. Because e-learning is seen as so new, managers among DigitalThink’s prospective customers are often concerned about how their employees will respond to this new, nontraditional training method.
3. Suppose a large international hotel chain asks DigitalThink to make a proposal to train its thousands of front desk clerks and receptionists. (a) How would you design an e-learning program to train them how to check in a customer? (b) How can DigitalThink demonstrate the points of difference or benefits to the hotel chain of its technology-based instruction to obtain a contract to design an e-learning program? a) The program would be designed so that the clerks and receptionists can access it during the day (for 1-2 hour periods) where they would be simulated work sessions where they would be interacting with customer. For example the receptionist would be taught the policies of the hotel, the procedures required to check in a guest, then they would be able to test their knowledge in the simulations. In addition, Digitalthink could include a mentor available as part of the program to do a webinar (software as a service).
b) The ease of use of a e learning program are the main benefit. The technology based program can be accessed on demand when front desk clerks are available. Employees probably have a busy schedule so the program would be concise and comprehensive. If I was on the Digital think team I would stress the difference between our programs is that we are compact and will save the company money and time spent to educate their workforce in a flexible amount of time.