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If you’re old enough to remember when PCs were introduced to the workplace, you may remember the volumes upon volumes of training manuals that arrived with even the most basic software. They probably sat on a shelf and gathered dust, because nobody could be bothered to tackle the content in them.

Sales training courses used to involve imparting huge amounts of information on trainees, but training professionals are starting to question the effectiveness of these techniques. In pharma sales training, of course, trainees are required to master a large amount of technical information to be able to perform their work effectively. But volumes of static training content are increasingly out of touch with how today’s professionals work, and their training needs.

Problems With Traditional Heavy Training Loads

When a trainee under-loads or overloads their working memory, learning is not optimal. When working memory isn’t stimulated enough, boredom and distraction set in. When working memory is overloaded, all that information has to be processed before the information has meaning and before more learning can occur. This is part of what is known as cognitive load theory. When pharma sales training courses try to impart too much information all at once, there can be problems, such as:

• Lengthy sales training courses diverting workers from their actual work without actually imparting much new knowledge
• Trainees either not absorbing sufficient knowledge, or learning less important principles
• Difficulty in applying lessons on the job
• Lower return on the pharma sales training investment

A Better Way of Learning

Pharma sales training is more effective when complicated, large concepts are broken down into smaller segments. This could mean something as simple as breaking down a long training presentation into multiple, shorter presentations. When essential materials are broken down into “snack sized” chunks, working memory overload is less likely. Trainees can process information and retain it better. Moreover, the concept of “spiral learning,” in which basic ideas are revisited repeatedly in the context of new lessons, meshes well with the concept of bite-sized learning.

How Does Bite-Sized Learning Work?

Sales training courses involving bite-sized learning present information in smaller portions. Rather than a heavy, three-course meal of learning, trainees are served learning in snack-sized portions that can be digested before moving on. Big lessons are broken down into mini-lessons that focus on one or two key pharma sales training concepts. Learning events are smaller and shorter, and trainees experience the sense of achievement more frequently. When mini-lessons are assembled into a focused campaign, they meet the broader learning goals. And this type of learning lends itself readily to e-learning and training modules on mobile devices.

Benefits of This Approach

This type of “micro-learning” is designed to fit well with human working memory and attention span and yields an average of four to five learned items from a lesson. When implemented with care, this type of pharma sales training can cut development costs significantly while increasing the speed of learning at the same time.

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Trainers benefit too. Rather than designing huge, multi-hour or multi-day sales training courses, they can design smaller learning modules that are easier to schedule and can be adapted to mobile learning apps and even games trainees can use when their schedules permit. With smaller, more manageable learning portions, pharma sales training is more effective and in-step with today’s work style.

Today’s pharmaceutical sales rep exists in a huge and ever-increasing sea of information, and many people find that traditional sales training courses are overwhelming and not as effective as they could be. When too much information is presented at once, trainees have a hard time absorbing and retaining it, regardless of how meaningful or interesting the content is.

With bite-sized learning, however, pharma sales training better meets the needs of today’s learners by allowing them to access smaller portions of information, and increasingly, to do so anywhere and anytime with their mobile devices. Training schedules can be more flexible, and best of all, sales training courses can be more effective and provide a much better training ROI.

CLD, Inc. is the leader in providing custom pharma sales training that uses the latest in technology and learning theories to help trainers maximize their investment in their reps. From traditional classroom materials to e-learning to gamification and modular learning, CLD can provide the exact solution you need to develop the best possible pharma sales team. If you’d like to learn more, check out our free online resources, or feel free to contact us at any time. We would be more than happy to answer your questions.