Spicing Up Your PLM Training With eLearning

woman studying elearning on laptop

Training isn’t in the budget this year. We don’t have the resources to put together an internal training plan either. It would take too long to train the whole organization. Sound familiar? If it does, you’re clearly not alone. Have no fear, there’s an answer to your problems: a PLM eLearning course!

Despite the fact that a strong learning culture drives competitive advantage, many companies fall short when it comes to training. Executives question its return on investment, and training is often seen as a bore and a chore. Let’s face it: training is not cheap. It requires skilful instructors who understand both technology and people. It needs to be planned with care. And most companies get it wrong.

Most corporate training programs are dull and lifeless. They’re arid, PowerPoint-heavy monologues, delivered by external trainers who are unfamiliar with the company’s products, culture and people. They are painfully boring marathon sessions where information goes in one ear and out the other.

But what if there’s a way to make it better?

More and more organizations are ditching their old training programs in favour of personalized PLM eLearning experiences. eLearning has the potential to connect people to products, technology and processes through self-paced, digital, modern learning.

And it does it by lowering costs, reaching learners in even the most remote locations and putting training in the hands of the people. Good eLearning breaks up information into smaller learning bites, invites you to interact with the content and practice the skills you’ve learned.

What exactly is eLearning?

In short, eLearning can embrace any form of electronically delivered training or education.

In traditional education, a teacher passes on her or his knowledge in a physical classroom. Learners listen, attend and interact with the teacher in person.

With e-learning, learners access and receive educational content through computers, tablets, and smartphones.

And learning can happen at any time, at any speed. It’s learning, delivered right to you.

And for almost any company, it’s directly tied to better performance and results.

What kind of “educational content” are we talking about?

Well, it can be many things! A series of webinars, interactive training materials, video tutorials, system training, or a well-structured eCourse – just to mention a few!

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the most important eLearning components and how they can help you explain complex concepts and boost your learners’ engagement.


Rather than just reading through a series of text-filled screens, eCourses invite learners to become a part of the game. They click and touch the screen. They drag and drop graphics. They make choices to select the content they read. They solve practical challenges. They get to use their heads.

Good eCourses combine bite-sized chunks of learning with practical exercises such as quizzes, games or sorting activities that encourage learners to think critically. They’re a great way to immerse your people in complex concepts, bring the theory into action and keep your people on board.
System trainings

No matter how good your systems are, you won’t see the outcomes until your employees have learned, practiced, and mastered them.

You’ve likely heard the expression “practice makes perfect”. Hands-on system practice enables acquisition of new skills and provides a safe environment to learn, which lowers resistance to change.

Whether you’re transitioning to a new system or just want to improve employee performance using your current systems, system trainings help your people get comfortable with the system and lose their fear of using it.

You can demonstrate a new workflow, get your learners to practice it and assess whether they’ve got it right.

Interactive Graphics & activities

The most effective eLearning includes a good dose of interaction. Interactivity keeps your learners awake and engages them in a way that allows them to digest the material.

Interactivity makes your courses appetizing. By combining beautiful graphics, good design and interactivity, you’ll appeal to your learners’ visual senses and keep them devouring your content.

PLM eLearning Is No Different

Product Lifecycle Management can sometimes get a bit too abstract. Systems to manage product information are not easy to navigate. PLM — and keeping up with it — can be confusing, even to those who understand its importance. 

eCourses are great for documenting PLM concepts, explaining product development processes or getting new employees on board. You can guide your learners through a workflow by having them click through different core systems to complete a task with system training. And you can let them think about how to solve a real-life challenge using interactive activities.

eLearning works for the PLM folks as well. You can break down complexity and let them slowly get into greater detail, following a storyline to keep them hooked.

Find inspiration for your next PLM eLearning project using these 9 ideas

eLearning might sound like a good thing, but how do you come up with an eLearning idea that actually works for your organization?

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of seven fresh eLearning examples to get you inspired!

1. Onboarding

Help your new employees get settled quickly and easily with an onboarding course. Let your newcomers know what your PLM applications and core systems are, how you’re organized, what kind of products you work with, how to get help and where to find instructions.

The good thing is that an onboarding course is not just for new employees – it helps your team to build a transparency culture, where internal processes are documented and everyone works towards a common way of working.

Check out our PLM Basics eCourse and get inspired for your first onboarding PLM eLearning!

2. PLM Concepts

A concept should be more than just a document. Bring PLM into motion with an eCourse that guides learners through key PLM components in your organization in a modern way, and let them come back to it every now and then. With eLearning, you can tie together theory and practice and make PLM a bit easier to navigate.

Browse through our Agile Foundations eCourse to get an idea of what your “Digital PLM Concept” might look like!

3. Project /program management

You finally managed to get that CPQ study into the budget to replace your out-dated product configurator. After a productive kick-off meeting, a part of your team gets to study the existing functionality. “Why is the workflow this way?” “Who needs this functionality?” “Who defined the original requirements?” “Why can’t I access the code?”

Situations like this are common. Without the product’s requirements and specifications, no one knows who to contact and the backend system seems to be locked in.

Create a blueprint to make your life easier with a digital project journal. With a project journal, your project’s team, objectives, requirements, priorities, scope and lessons learned won’t get lost.

4. First login

You sit in front of the computer and open the new PDM application. “Where do I need to click?” “What if I break it?” “This is difficult. The old system was better.”  

We’ve all been there. You don’t have to be a technophobe to feel reluctant about adopting new technology.

Shifting gears is rarely easy, but a “first login” eLearning course – one that holds your hand while you dip your toes in the water – definitely makes it a bit easier. Make a simple, step-by-step system tour through the system to welcome new users. Create a basic system flow that welcomes users and encourages them to start using the system.

With practice you’ll get better, and it won’t feel like you’re hit with a stress bomb every time you sit in front of the new PDM app.

What does a “First Login” system training look like? Get inspired by our “Fusion Teams – first look” eLearning course.

5. Product training

Get your employees to understand your products better with eLearning. With product training, your employees can learn about the product and practice common procedures in a risk-free environment. You can keep your sales force trained on new-product knowledge, related services and updates, create virtual product catalogues and help your service personnel serve your customers better.

6. Process & workflow training

At the heart of every high-growth organization is a strong process. It’s the backbone that supports organizational scale. But to make new processes work, people need help to make sense of them.

Change freaks us out. Handling a change in the way we do things every day requires work.

Walk your employees through the “why, how and what” of your processes in an interactive way. Let them try and experiment with the new workflow in a controlled environment, where they can jump from system to system and focus on the workflow outcomes, not on the system itself.

Here’s an example of the internal processes we created to explain how to create and upload a blog post into WordPress.

7. Interactive data models

Propel your information into action using interactive data models. Build interactive visualizations of your information flows and document integrations in a user-friendly way.

Is eLearning right for you?

The ever-increasing pace of digital transformation can be especially demanding for your people. It forces them to understand and quickly respond to big shifts in the way they operate and get work done.

Don’t sell yourself short. Your people don’t need Product Lifecycle Management—Product Lifecycle Management needs your people. Getting Product Lifecycle Management to work is really all about getting your people on board. And PLM eLearning training can get you one step closer to connecting people to your products, technology and processes.

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