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Skills Require Practice

Would you give your 16-year-old son or daughter the keys to your car if they completed drivers education completely online?

What if the eLearning developers built very realistic simulations where you practiced driving a virtual vehicle on an iPad?   Probably not, because developing skills requires practicing those skills. The same is true for the skills of being an MSL.

A lot of corporate training has moved online and delivered through a webinar.  Even when MSL teams are brought together for training, it often is delivered through lectures and long slide presentations.  Presenting new information, especially as new data is released or when there is a change affecting your products, is extremely important.  It is also important to be clear about what you expect your MSL team to be able to do with that information.

As an example, if you expect your MSL Team to be able to explain the information to KOLs, then the training should allow plenty of opportunities to practice explaining the information.  If the role of the MSL is to ask questions about KOL perceptions and understanding of the information to identify insights for the organization, then the training program should provide opportunities to practice that.

There are 3 principles of effective practice:
  1. Clear Success Criteria There should be clear criteria for a successful and unsuccessful demonstration of the skill.  These should be observable behaviors that a knowledgeable observer could verify the MSL either did or did not do.
  2. Safe EnvironmentIt is important that when someone is practicing that they are in an environment that allows for risks and mistakes.
  3. Specific Feedback In order for the practice to be effective, the MSL should receive very specific feedback about their skill.  This can be done through live observation or using a tool like MSLCOACH.COM where the MSL records their practice session and receives feedback from their recording.

The best practice is to use mixed delivery methods to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of training.  Webinars, lectures, and online modules are great for presenting new information.  By using these methods in advance of a workshop you can save valuable face-to-face time for practice.