Socializing your learning design to support global audiences: 5 top takeaways (Ep10)

How do you socialize learning design methodologies to get the support you need from your business? How should you approach deploying learning across multiple languages and cultures? How can you spot exceptional learning designers at an interview? And what does it take to engage salespeople with learning? We’ve pulled out five top takeaways from Simon’s conversation with Tracy Tibedo, Director of Commercial Training at multinational biotech company Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Tracy Tibedo socializing learning design

About Tracy

Tracy is a seasoned sales professional with a passion for improving sales performance. Having spent almost 30 years in sales and marketing, he knows what makes a great salesperson. Tracy and his team support over 2,000 specialist sales staff in locations all over the world, with sales training programs to drive performance improvements.

Hear what Tracy had to say around socializing learning design on the Learning at Large Podcast

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Here are 5 top takeaways: 

1. Experience of face-to-face teaching and training can help with digital.

“When it comes to producing digital learning programs, there’s value to be gained from face-to-face training and teaching experience. Tracy explained: “[You get to] see the faces of the audience when they’re getting a concept and when they’re not getting it, when they’re bored and when they’re excited. So, as you start designing programs or looking at programs that other people have designed, you have that firsthand knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work.”

2. You won’t get localization right first time 

“The learning programs that Thermo Fischer Scientific deliver have a truly global presence, which comes with its own challenges. “You do need to do some customization of your content, whether it’s skills training methodology or even in elearning, to make sure you’re aware of not just the language change, but also some of the cultural nuances…Despite your best efforts of talking to managers, talking to country leaders, it’s not until you actually run the program with the reps on the ground that you really learn some of the subtleties that need to be changed in any program.”

3. Salespeople are practical – consider this in your training programs

“When it comes to supporting salespeople, Tracy has some sage advice: “A little bit of theory with a lot of very practical knowledge…showing how to put this practical knowledge to immediate use is truly one of the best things you can do” – he explained.  “We’ll teach for a little bit, then we’ll hop right into a roleplay or some case studies so people can immediately see how this information can be used in the real world and can practice it. And then they can discuss it. We can listen to specific scenarios that the sales rep might want to use this new technique or this new method in, we can have a good discussion in the class until we feel that we have addressed that issue or that concern.”

4. Digital comes to life when you break it down

“Not getting in the way of selling, and giving salespeople everything they need to be successful is key when providing sales training. So, when it comes to digital Tracy recommends keeping it short.”

“An elearning longer than 30 minutes, you’re really just wasting time. And the other thing that we’re actually moving towards more and more now is taking, say, our 30-minute elearning and breaking it down into even shorter chunks of multiple courses that might be 5 to 10 minutes long, and serving that up as a package.”

“This does a couple of things. First, it satisfies the universal demand from salespeople to have short training classes, but we’ve also found that if a salesperson takes one 10-minute course, they’re much more likely if they’re in the system to take another 10-minute course, or maybe three.”

Explore 5 micro-learning examples to give you some inspiration for 2020!

5. You can support sales roleplay digitally

“We’re just rolling out some coaching classes; we will have a conversation between a sales manager and a sales rep. These are for sales managers. And as the coaching conversation goes along, we’ll stop and say, “Okay, sales manager, what would you ask next?” And we give the sales manager a choice of three or four or five different responses. Only one of them is the ideal response, a couple of them are what we call mediocre—they’re okay, but they’re not as good as they could be—and usually there’s one that’s just horrible. Typically, that’s put in there more for comic relief than anything.

“Those have been quite effective and very well appreciated and very well used by sales managers. We’ve also put together things like this for the sales conversation, and people like those as well, because it gives them very good practical knowledge on what to do.”

Tracy Tibedeo’s book recommendations:

The Science and Technology of Elearning, Ruth Colvin Clark 

“That is our go-to book for all things elearning. It really lays out how to do a good elearning program.”

Mindset, Carol Dweck 

“This book talks about your mindset—whether you have a growth mindset or not—and how to get one.”

The Accidental Instructional Designer, Carolyn Bean

“which is very good—and quite typical, because a lot of people in instructional design are not there because they were trained instructional designers. 

Join the conversation!

Thanks again to Tracy for sharing so much. It’s been a fantastic episode. We’d love to hear your thoughts from today’s podcast, so please get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any queries or suggestions. You can also email me at As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large on your favorite podcast app, and leave us a 5-star rating if you’ve enjoyed the episode. See you next time.

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