This is an excerpt from our white paper, Learning Solutions and Your Product Launch: The Secret to Success. Here is a section on understanding curriculums:

What is a curriculum?

Let’s start with the basics: what is a curriculum? We define a curriculum as:

A set of learning solutions that support a common goal, solving a business problem.

Let’s break this apart:

Learning solutions are traditionally instructor-led training or eLearning courses. For many, “launch training” is a one-time meeting that, while often quite impressive, is not enough to change behavior and provide learners with the skills and knowledge they need to be able to remember and use when they are actually back on the job.

Product Launch white paper

Keep in mind that a curriculum is, by definition, a set of learning solutions. Curricula can reach beyond these traditional solutions to include job aids, reference materials (paper, electronic, or app-based), flash cards, reminder emails, staff meeting reinforcement tools, and many other options. Learning is complete only when the learner is executing on the job successfully. Getting back to our definition, for a product launch, the business problem we are solving is typically that sales representatives (or other audiences) do not have the knowledge and/or skills to successfully sell and support the new product.

From a knowledge perspective, their existing product and market knowledge may or may not be applicable to the new product. Sometimes, they have to un-learn what they already know and re-learn a new approach. They also may have to learn about new markets; new customers or customer segments; new product features or functions; new ways of doing business, both for themselves and for customers.

As far as skills, while they may have existing sales skills, they may have to learn to sell a new way. They might have hands-on technical skills to learn, so they can demonstrate the product, set it up, trouble shoot it, or answer questions about how it works. Finally, they may have new business skills to learn: if the product requires the customer to work a new way, the sales representative may have to walk them through that process and help the customer understand and execute the changes that need to be made.

Important knowledge for sales and support reps

So, at the most fundamental level, the goal of the product launch training curriculum is that sales representatives and others have and can use the skills and knowledge needed to successfully launch the product.

What can a curriculum do?

A curriculum can:

  • Help learners develop skills around how to sell, use or install the new product
  • Help learners remember key information about the new product
  • Help learners feel more confident because they have the skills and knowledge they need about the new product

A curriculum cannot:

  • Change the market environment
  • Create buy-in at the field level if senior management tells a different story
  • Fix a misguided message
  • Correct a poorly designed or executed product

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