Training Technology for Cannabis Industry: Partners or Failures?

Deliver Top-Notch Cannabis Training for Your Employees

One of the most common questions we discuss here is: “How do I deliver necessary cannabis training online and how do I learn to manage a learning environment.” We will discuss technical considerations for choosing a training provider, but here’s the thing…

If you are a beginner or an advance person in these technical areas, you will know that end-user and technical support is essential when managing a training platform and also being able to provide legit compliance reporting for regulatory agencies.

And if you do figure out how to put together a Learning Management System (LMS), then you need to make sure you can do Instructional Design (ID) to create your training or buy it from a 3rd-party courseware provider that meets the training requirements for your employees.

Using an LMS allows you to concentrate 100% on your cannabis business without being distracted managing your own training platform; we offer the highest level of customer support that is available in the cannabis industry for all of your employees or end-users (your customers even).

So you will need a group of experienced and well-trained technical support staff is available 24/7 to solve your training problems immediately. When you talk to education technology decision-makers you will find extreme views formed about different vendors during the process of finding eLearning tools to support teaching and learning in an LMS.

All businesses in the cannabis industry need to use technology, and most rely on external developers rather than develop their own tools so as a result, like them or not, relationships with vendors must be developed and sustained.


Forging a Path with Competency-Based Performance

So what makes a company or solution more “trustworthy” than others? The most common factor is your company’s capacity to deliver high-quality training at scale, track compliance reporting, maintaining training roadmap, financial feasibility for management of the platform, and quality of partner relationships.

Education-Technology (Ed-Tech) providers serve as an invaluable source of knowledge on solutions and trends for online training, cited in 80% of our conversations…that ranks second only to learning by word-of-mouth from colleagues (96%).

There is a lot of confusion with the overload of Ed-Tech options that are out there and it doesn’t help receiving “cold sales reach-outs” from vendors, especially via social media and online communications.

It is easy to be skeptical about the reliability of vendor-provided information, publications, and research since sell products as opposed to a process or an idea, and often fail to address a real pedagogical need. Surprisingly, decision-makers rely on vendors than on scholarly reports or journals for research on Ed-Tech solutions.


Proliferation of Ed-Tech Solutions and Services

Increasingly, vendors are approaching individual trainers or consultants directly, inviting them to experiment and demo different Ed-Tech solutions.

There are pros and cons to this shift away from centralized acquisitions for Ed-Tech solutions since businesses can gain the freedom of choice and avoid lengthy, bureaucratic procurement procedures.

But the result can be a redundancy in functionality among acquired Ed-Tech tools and other concerns include solutions that are unable to be supported by the IT department, along with the security risks that arise when users accept licensing agreements that do not conform to regulations on critical issues in the cannabis industry.

One big red flag was whether vendors are taking adequate care to safeguard employees’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII). We find methods to streamline the implementation process and to reduce redundancy among supported tools, these should be major priorities for businesses working in the cannabis industry.


Open-Source Technology: Importance of Transparency

Transparency is an important characteristic for building trust in an Ed-Tech solution and that’s why you need to use open-source technologies…so cannabis businesses own the software just as much as anyone does.

In an era where practically all things we use and interact with – cars, phones, watches, homes, etc. – have some component that relies on software, it is imperative that we understand and are able to see what the software is doing.

Proponents of open-source software have been saying this for many years so major trends in the open-source movement is that software should be free to use, should allow any user to see the source-code and allow users to modify as well as distribute the source code

So initially the cannabis business needs to know what the Ed-Tech tool does now, not what the vendor aspires to deliver in the future. Product roadmaps should be of interest to decision-makers who plan to use the tools long-term since many Ed-Tech solutions are often waiting for features and functionality to be added to the platform.

The cannabis industry is populated by demanding, inquisitive, and often compliance-oriented training who want to understand the “black box” behind a product.

For example, what are the algorithms behind an adaptive learning platform, or how does a “big data” compliance-intervention training assigned to employees then is able to provide compliance reporting for regulatory bodies?

You will find that vendors that are afraid to give their playbook away sometimes so an open-source solution provides that transparency that you should expect from a technology partner.


Partners in Training and Development

Tech-savvy users are needed to utilize Ed-Tech solutions and you need to have the ability for our clients to tweak their solutions to better serve their specific business needs. Such interests can be incompatible with the interests of a for-profit company that wants to guard proprietary software and minimizes the need for expensive customization.

The outcome can be a win-win using open-source technology: cannabis businesses are able to fulfill their need for employee training, and vendors can provide prospects with rigorous evidence of product effectiveness.

While costs are often a consideration when choosing Ed-Tech solutions, but it is rarely the most important since if there is proof that a solution can help achieve employee training goals, there is likely to be wiggle room in the budget.

There is an easy path for employee training when you choose an adequate provider so it is essential to aim for mutually beneficial relationships with “partners,” rather than simply choosing a product vendor.

You need a partner who builds trust by understanding your specific training needs, then empathize with the frontline employees so they are able to “sell” your products in a way that would be compelling to your customers, convey a sense of shared purpose and connected destiny.

To build long-term relationships and customer loyalty, vendors need be prepared to customize your training solution to meet employees’ needs. After all, partnerships have to be two-way relationships.

Let us know what you think.