Scott Szymanski

Instructional Designer | Storyteller | Mountain Climber

I'm an instructional designer, west coast swing dancer, and backcountry hiker. Exploring new ideas, people, and skills fuels my journey to help others be the best they can be.

Review some of my work below.

Character-driven Sales Training Course

Responsibilities: Needs assessment, Instructional design, eLearning development

Audience: New sales staff who need to create a pipeline management plan

Features: Character interactions, deliberate practice, spaced repetition, ask an expert functionality, customizable templates

Tools Used: Articulate Storyline, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel

CHALLENGE

The client contacted us to design a course that taught sales staff how to develop a pipeline management plan to increase sales. New staff struggled to commit to a uniform method for achieving consistent sales results. This made it difficult for sales managers to forecast quarterly and annual sales figures for new teams. In the past, this training was provided in-person; however, thanks to company expansion, training needed to be available digitally.

SOLUTION

We created a Storyline course focused on hands-on, actionable skills that could be used upon completion. Through interviews with salespeople during an in-person training session we attended, we learned the value of teamwork and coaching to the sales process. This led us to design the training around learners helping a junior salesperson character put together a pipeline management plan. As the junior struggled, the learner stepped in to help, often through interactive challenges and form fields designed to mimic some of the documentation used on the job. 

A senior salesperson character guided the training and nudged the learner in the right direction through an “ask an expert” function optionally available at key points.

Because of the importance of a pipeline management plan to sales, we gave learners a second chance to practice creating one as the final assessment. They used sample data and customizable templates we created. These templates could be downloaded and used on the job to make it easier for learners to apply the same process once they were assigned their territories.

RESULT

Based on client feedback, the course was a hit. New sales staff related to the questions and concerns addressed by the characters in the training. Insights gained from senior salespeople were able to be shared with learners from day one thanks to a senior sales staff presence as one of the main characters. Learners benefited from providing support for a colleague through the junior salesperson character. It helped make the challenge of pipeline management relatable, normal, and ultimately something that could be overcome. With customizable templates, learners were equipped to begin working with a sales pipeline immediately.

Demo available upon request.

Scenario-based Customer Service Training

Responsibilities: Project management, Instructional design

Audience: New and veteran employees in customer-facing roles who work with vulnerable populations

Features: Practice scenarios, interactivity, knowledge checks, final assessment

Tools Used: Articulate Storyline, Microsoft PowerPoint

CHALLENGE

The client contacted us to design an annual course that improved customer service quality. Many of the customers employees serviced were from vulnerable populations who required extra care and patience. Current employees struggled to adapt to these populations because most issues involved complicated paperwork filing processes and deadlines. The target population found these processes confusing and hard to perform.

SOLUTION

We designed a Storyline course incorporating branching scenarios inspired by real-life situations collected from subject matter experts. These scenarios were weaved into a new framework for customer service built on simple, repeatable actions that could be performed seamlessly in-person and on the phone. Scenarios were supported by interactive content detailing the framework and examples of how to perform each step effectively.

In each scenario, learners chose between multiple responses to a customer issue. After making a choice, learners watched how the customer reacted and were given a brief explanation for what worked and what didn’t. The final assessment incorporated complex branching that required a string of correct answers to pass. This made for deeper and more nuanced situations that gave learners a chance to focus on the customer relationship in addition to meeting the customer’s immediate need. Learners left the training with downloadable job aids they could keep near them as they helped customers at work.

RESULT

Key stakeholders raved about the straightforward and practical approach we took to customer service. They especially liked how the scenarios enabled learners to practice each step of the new customer service framework without requiring them to dive into the whole thing all at once. 

Being based on real-life situations added credibility to the scenarios, but more importantly to the organization. It showed employees this was an issue the client took seriously and wanted to improve. While the assessment proved challenging for some learners, the client appreciated that it required meaningful effort to pass that would likely translate to improved work performance.

Demo available upon request.

Confidence-building State Advocacy Tool

Responsibilities: Needs assessment, Instructional design, eLearning development

Audience: Medical professionals interested in becoming state legislative advocates

Features: Responsive design, testimonials, interactivity, custom reporting, ongoing job aids

Tools Used: Articulate Rise, Articulate Storyline, Microsoft Word

CHALLENGE

The client contacted us to design a course that would encourage and support medical professionals to become state advocates. In the past, clinicians struggled to get involved in advocacy for two reasons: the complexity of the legislative process and a lack of confidence in being effective at the state level. Through focus groups, it was revealed that these challenges were big demotivators to stay involved even if an advocacy program had been established. State advocacy is a major driver of positive legislation for doctors, patients, and the larger medical community.

SOLUTION

We built a Rise solution that served two purposes: It provided learners initial training on state advocacy and it functioned as a live, always-on reference tool for state advocates whenever they needed it. 

Structured around stories and lived experience, the course focused on practical tools learners could use right away supported by encouraging wisdom from veteran advocates we interviewed. Interspersed in the content were interactions that challenged learners to immediately apply their knowledge. Modules were also made into audio “podcasts” for doctors who preferred this medium. 

The solution measured learner confidence before and after taking each module since this was a primary issue discouraging medical professionals from being advocates. Results were submitted to a spreadsheet on the client’s server that updated in real-time. Because the client wanted this tool to be an ongoing resource for advocates, this functionality provided visibility into what worked and didn’t work so the course could be updated as needed without a full overhaul.

RESULT

The client was impressed with how straightforward and practical the course became. Compared to their previous 45-page training manual on state advocacy, this course provided a much-needed brand facelift for the content while serving as an ever-evolving tool for the organization. The custom reporting function made a big difference in pinpointing what topics were especially challenging. To the client, incorporating real success stories from advocates painted a clear picture of what could be achieved, something the client expected would improve advocacy retention.

Demo available upon request.

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