Role-play Automation Lights up Learning Pyramid

By March 16, 2018Uncategorized

One of our customers recently told me that SharperAx makes it very easy for his sales team to learn.  He said “it’s all about active learning – check out the Learning Pyramid to see what I mean.”

This customer was having great results with his story program and has an MA in Psychology, with an emphasis in organizational learning.  I was eager to see what he recommended.

The Learning Pyramid (see image below) shows that the more actively we are engaged in the learning process, the better we learn.  It focuses on information retention and is a byproduct of Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience.  For example, it shows that if you practice (tier 2) you retain 75% of what you are trying to learn vs. if you listen to a lecture (tier 7) you retain 5% of what you are trying to learn.


The Learning Pyramid captures the retention rates for different learning approaches The Learning Pyramid captures the retention rates for different learning approaches


A bit of study on the Learning Pyramid shows that it has some detractors for oversimplifying learning, among other things.  Dale himself pointed out that it would be a dangerous mistake to regard the bands on the pyramid as rigid, inflexible tiers and offered it “as a visual metaphor of learning experiences.”

In that spirit of more active engagement correlating with better learning, it is easy to see what our customer is talking about.  His story program includes all the active learning tiers (bold text below) and many of the others.

The primary component of his story program is role-playing – the expert models what a good talk track or selling story looks like ‘in role’ with their webcam (demonstration – tier 4) and then everyone on the sales team watches (audio visual demonstration – tier 5) and uses their own webcams to practice (practice – tier 2) until they master the story.

After the practices are shared and coached, the team meets for a thirty minute weekly story workshop to review the top video submissions and discuss (group discussion – tier 3) new and successful ideas and approaches that bubbled up from the exercise.

In additional to having top reps do the original story guide that models ‘what good looks like’ (teaching – tier 1), this customer often has different sales reps lead the story workshop and moderate the discussion (teaching – tier 1).

Viewed with the Learning Pyramid in mind, it is no surprise this sales team is thriving.  They continue to learn and get better because every week their story program includes the top 5 learning tiers, including all of the active learning approaches.

Paul McGhee founded SharperAx in 2013. SharperAx develops role-play automation software.




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