Professional Development is the key to any successful sales effort and is absolutely paramount in what we do at TouchIT Technologies. Having quite an in depth product means that there is certainly no chance to "sell it and forget it". Quite the contrary. The real work for TouchIT starts when the customer gets a product. There are a number of different strategies that we employ regarding Professional Development on our products. Firstly, we have a wealth of resources online. We have email training which delivers a training course to the subscriber on a daily basis. The course comprises of some theory and a take away activity each day. If you have more time one day, you are able to pull additional future emails down. If you have a particular interest in a certain topic, you are able to pull them down out of sequence too. What we are finding is that our users are more engaged with the course as they are reading it whilst they are actually at the LED rather than away from the classroom in their own time. Feedback has been nothing but positive. We also offer a significant Frequently Asked Questions on our website. A huge variety of video tutorials and all this is backed up with a full support system. For us, the real work starts once the sale has been made and the customer takes delivery of the product. Happy trained customers buy more product, fact! There is a method behind the madness here.
Professional Development Challenges - Time and Cover
One of the first challenges faced by schools and District's when looking at Professional Development, is cover. Who is going to cover the lessons that are being taught by the teachers if they are pulled out of class into a PD session? Substitute teachers are expensive so there is a certain cost element to this PD which has to be weighed up too. Who pays for the cover? Ultimately, in our experience it has to be the District so they have a keen eye on exactly what is going to be covered in a PD session and the benefits of it.
When do these sessions take place? If they are before or after school, this is not teaching time but it is private time of the teachers. Unless they are contracted to having X amount of directed time before or after school, this can be a challenge for schools and Districts.
Getting everyone to sync diaries and to be in one place at the same time is a logistical nightmare. What we see is that usually, we are booked for multiple sessions either throughout the day or over a period of days as it is just not possible to cover off the PD with everyone that needs to take part in the session in a single time slot.
Variety of Users
Judging the level of knowledge of a group can be a challenge. Mixing experts with novices is also a challenge for the trainer as pitching the PD at the right level is essential for the attendees to get the most out of the session. Wherever possible, we try and ask that groups are put together by ability but as we have already seen above, logistics can be a challenge. Therefore, the skill is in the delivery of the training by the training in being able to tailer the session to the audience and perhaps have different people doing different activities.
Tiers of Knowledge
With our Interactive LEDs we like to maintain that there are 4 levels of knowledge that most users fall into.
- Level 1 - those that use the LED as a TV
- Level 2 - those that use it with basic mouse control
- Level 3 - those that embrace the Android OS and Interactive Software
- Level 4 - the experts that Cast and Collaborate
One of the Challenges as we see if of Professional Development is how do you move your users up the tiers?
Moving Users up the Tiers
In a perfect world, all of our users would be on Level 4. Utilizing the software and hardware to its fullest extent in the classroom. We know that this is not the case. So how do we move our users up the tiers. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Professional Development is not just a one time thing; it is an ongoing process. Some of our larger school Districts know us personally as we do their staff. This is because of the amount of visits we have made the do training sessions.
Professional Development is ofter overlooked. Not at TouchIT Technologies, it is an integral part of the post-sales process.