Consider Adult Learning Theory When Presenting Training

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Do you ever wonder why some of your employees come out of a training program and just simply don’t seem to get it?  Do some of the trainees seem to assimilate all the information just fine, but others seem like they were never even in the class?

The problem may not be in the intelligence levels or the classroom efforts of the trainees, but in the way the training is designed and presented.  It’s important that your training programs are designed to engage and stimulate all types of students and learning styles.

An important consideration in developing call center training programs is to understand how adults learn.  The concept of adult learning theory suggests that we learn differently as adults than we did as children in school.  Some characteristics of adult learners are:

  • Adults need to be able to integrate new ideas with what they already know.
  • Adults need to practice what they have learned on relevant problems.
  • Adults learn better in a friendly and informal climate.
  • Adults usually require more than one medium for learning.
  • The medium that works best will vary and depend up on the preferred communications and learning style of the individual.

Studies have shown that adult educational programs are more successful when modular pieces of content are delivered in small blocks of time.  These adult learning blocks are:

  • Tell them.
  • Show them.
  • Let them try.
  • Monitor and provide feedback.
  • Let them try again.
  • Reinforce.

It’s also important to understand that adults have different learning and communications styles.  Avoid teaching using just the style that is most comfortable for you.

Put all of these techniques together for a successful training program for your call center!

Train All Staff on the Meaning of Metrics

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We are always “managing by the numbers” in a contact center, and there are dozens of metrics associated with front-line performance.  Agents may get feedback on their average handle time (AHT), after-call work (ACW) percentages, average speed of answer (ASA), quality scores, and adherence numbers, just to name a few.  But do they know what these numbers (and acronyms) really mean?

It is a good practice to have definitions of all the terms used in performance management explained to agents in the new hire training but also available to them in your knowledge management tool or company intranet.  Make sure the agents know the terms, what the numbers mean, how they are measured, and the relevance of each number to the bigger team picture and the performance of the center as whole.  Note that QATC has a glossary of contact center terms in our members-only Library that can be used for this purpose.