The movement to create and use more eLearning in retail training is driven as much by the need to reduce payroll costs and time off the floor as to improve actual learning.  The are a number of data points that tell us that eLearning improves consistency of learning, cuts training time, and over large scale implementations is very cost effective.  So it’s not a matter of elearning not delivering on the benefits of transitioning from classroom.  But why then are so many retailers still including classroom training in their offerings?  And perhaps more importantly, when do you choose classroom or eLearning as a methodology for your training?

ELearning performs extremely well as a training methodology when there is content and process that is very specific and easily defined (think few options to choose other than what you want the learner to do).  So orientations with history of a company, stated values, procedural and technical processes and procedures and product knowledge (feature-benefit) are all good applications for eLearning methodology.

What we’ve also found and have provided for our retail clients is that foundational concepts and well-defined interpersonal skills and step-by-step selling or leadership strategies also lend themselves to being learned in an asynchronous learning environment.  What doesn’t also translate as well is the practice and personal application of those skills.  When someone is learning how to make something their ‘own’ with their own words and communication style, practice in a classroom is where the magic of adult learning occurs best.

Not only is the ability to get personal feedback from a facilitator or peers powerful but the ability to try a range of approaches or tailored your skill use slightly for a different effect is very insightful to the learner in a classroom.  Of course being able to see and hear your peers and their take on application of interpersonal skills is also a way to generate more best practices and ideas for you to take away from the classroom session.

We often use eLearning to set the foundation of skills.  It also shortens the time needed in a classroom setting which saves time and money.  So it’s not an either/or decision where the technology is concerned it can be both.  Now whether you’re using an LMS that allows enough bandwidth to handle everything you’d like is another topic entirely!  We’ll talk about LMS nightmare at another time!  Share your thoughts here or tweet us @mohrretail.  Thanks for reading.  In retailer everyday is a chance to learn MOHR.


About MOHR Retail

For more than 30 years, MOHR Retail has developed the critical people-to-people skills needed to create results in the retail industry—and we’re just getting started. Through innovative classroom and online learning methods, as well as our ongoing national retail research projects, we continue to stay on top of the trends so we can fuel the success of specialty stores, chain stores, outlets, catalogue retailers, department stores, and more. Nowhere does learning meet experience as it does in a MOHR Retail training program.