Length of E Learning Courses

23rd January 2019

Recently, one of our clients asked us whether we could make an e-learning course about profit and loss statements (P&L) in our Retail Financials course shorter. Could we cover the P&L in no more than 10 minutes? The answer was yes we could, but only if you want to spend money on a course that achieves no useful benefit for your employees. Some topics are sufficiently involved that you just can’t do anything worth doing in 5 or 10 minutes. We were told that millennials have a very short attention span and long courses don’t work. If that’s true, how on earth do they do a job where they have to be at work all day? If they are analysing your store performance or your inventory productivity how can they do that well in 10 minutes or less?

We talk to many training professionals and they all experience the drive to make classes shorter. So, if you are a user executive or a trainer, apply common sense. If your goal is to teach the use of ladders safely in a retail store, you can do that happily in a short course. The same for selling glue to young people. But if the content is more demanding and you want your buyers, merchandisers and store staff to also master more complex skills, insist on the length of training that the content really needs. Otherwise you will spend money on training and not advance your business goals at all.

We have some classes, like Impulse Merchandising, which take 20 minutes and do a really good job of the subject. We have others that take 12 hours to cover a syllabus. In this case, as we do, break them into smaller modules so that each module can be stopped at a convenient break point within 30 minutes. Then, if you want to master the skills quickly, do 30 minutes every two days (yes I did say quickly!). Some students cram a class in a long day or a day and a half. However, if you test them 4 weeks later, their level of retention is very poor (less than 20%). Taking time to do it right saves time in the end, because you don’t have to keep going back to refresh your memory or knowledge nearly so often and if you are the responsible executive, you get more of the benefits that you paid for.

Train well and train smart!

If you’d like to browse our selection of e-learning courses check out Martec’s Retail Development Academy.

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