Diary of an on-line mentor

first_imgTheInternet promises to dominate our future. But what will a typical trainer’s jobreally be like? We asked e-learning mentor John Agate to keep a diary of hisweekMondayThemorning was spent reviewing learning progress reports for the participantsdoing the new project management course. The message seems to be gettingthrough at last. Looks good – 75 per cent had completed the first two modulesand only 5 per cent had not completed the first one.Automatice-mail reminders had been sent to these folk but I followed up with a personalmessage to each myself. I feel it is important that they know I am keeping aneye on them and that they can call me if they are having problems. Theinitial section of the second module was posing a few problems for several people,so I sent out a general e-mail explaining the topic in an alternative way. Hada number of replies saying that my e-mail had helped.Forwardedthe whole lot to our e-learning partner who said they would incorporate mynotes in the module. (I checked on Tuesday morning and they were already up. Ican’t believe how fast we are able to change things these days.)Mondayafternoon was fun. I moderated a virtual workshop on responding to difficultcustomers as part of the customer care program. Participation was optional andnot everyone could spare the hour but 22 people logged on. Iposed some real examples of upset customers from our welcome centre, and theparticipants typed in their suggestions on how to respond to each customer.Isat back after a while as a discussion ensued with everyone critiquing eachother’s replies. Ifinished the exercise by asking a couple of the quieter participants tosummarise, which they did. I sometimes think that “quieter” actually means“slower at typing” and in my job, it is good that I can type with more than twofingers.Afterthat, I had a meeting to prepare for a virtual discussion on using thetelephone to make sales appointments. Most people are happy with this topic buta few seem to need a bit of help. Iwill speak to our e-learning partner about getting a couple of live video callsincluded just to show them how it’s done.TuesdayIgot on-line early as people wanted to discuss some of the issues arising fromone of the sales training modules. There were a number of e-mails waiting forme, all of which had been sent to the training group as well, so I started withthem. Good points were made by many of the participants and I think thediscussion enriched everyone’s understanding of the module on handling objections.Inthe afternoon, I “met” with marketing who want to carry out a product launchusing our e-learning system. A good meeting that drew training and marketingcloser together. I was able to pull out the key points about the new productthat the sales engineers would need to know about and put some potentialqueries to the marketing people. Marketingwill put up a draft page so that a few chosen ones can comment before it goeslive to all sales engineers about the middle of next week. Getting feedback thisway is really fast. (By the way, when I said “met”, it was a virtual meeting. Ididn’t actually go to the office this week.)WednesdayLatestart. I had planned to spend the evening moderating a virtual seminar onsetting objectives in management and so I spent the morning hitting some golfballs up at the range. Inthe afternoon, I was on the telephone to three people who were a bit behind intheir studies. It is vital that you never let anyone get too far behind or theycannot then participate with any success in the discussions. Other people gettoo far ahead of them.Itturns out that one lives only an hour from my home, so I popped over there lateafternoon. We actually moderated the seminar together from his computer whichnot only ensured I did not miss my time but also, I think, motivated him to getgoing again on his learning. A good day.ThursdayAdelightfully “old-fashioned” day. A group of 20 sales people who had completedthe advanced selling skills course (and passed all the final tests) met at theBristol office and we did some role-plays. They knew what to do and thoughtthey would breeze it, but of course, but there is nothing like trying it out“live”’ and getting some feedback.Wehad a lunch together and everyone got to know each other a bit better which isimportant when you are on your own for many weeks at a time. Over lunch, I gottheir views on the programme, some suggestions for improvement and asked themto communicate with our e-learning provider.Inthe evening, I caught up with my own e-mail backlog and “chatted” to my boss.With me in Winchester and her living in Liverpool, we seldom meet, but we keepclose electronically.FridayIam playing golf because tomorrow is Saturday – always the busiest day. I willbe chatting to as many students as I can. First, I will be answering queriesand participating in a discussion on buyer types. Later, I will be moderate anexpert panel on critical path analysis for the development engineers.Finally,I will be reviewing some additional exercises on selling a product with a groupof students from Hong Kong. Since they are eight hours ahead of us, they willbe participating over breakfast while I will be in my dressing gown, ready togo to bed. It has to be done this week as the local consultant we use to runpractice and feedback sessions will be meeting them all in Sha Tin next week. Ithink I’ll lie in on Sunday!JohnAgate is UK Sales Manager for PrimeLearning (UK) Ltd – www.primelearning.com Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Diary of an on-line mentorOn 1 Jun 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more