2 key learning methodologies and how to apply them to become a true Salesforce expert
I love learning — always have. And while my interests extend far beyond the realm of Salesforce (I’m also also learning to draw and am interested in all things technical), I feel very fortunate to be in a career that continually challenges me to learn everyday. The great thing about Salesforce and our Ohana is that continued learning is not only available (through Trailhead), but actively encouraged.
So in the spirit of my personal mantra to #AlwaysBeLearning, I wanted to share a few methodologies you can apply to learn anything — and, more specifically, how Salesforce partners can apply these methodologies to consistently build on their Salesforce expertise.
Embrace the ‘See One, Do One, Teach One’ Methodology
This method of learning is said to have originated in medical schools as a way for surgical residents to acquire knowledge and experience. I like to apply it to any learning experience as a way to deepen my knowledge. Let’s go through each of these and explain how you can apply it and show examples specific to Salesforce
The internet offers a wealth of resources for learning, whether through reading articles or viewing videos. When it comes to learning Salesforce, here are a few basic resources to get started with:
- The first stop for any developer related guides and articles is DeveloperForce. This is constantly updated as new features and releases become available, and it’s free to read all the articles.
- Community is a huge part of the Salesforce Ohana, so be sure to join the Partner Community (specifically targeted at ISVs) and the Success Community (for admins and all users)where you can learn from the best.
- Salesforce curates several Medium blogs that you can subscribe to for insights and best practices from employees and partners, including Inside the Salesforce Ecosystem and Salesforce UX.
- For video, there are several YouTube channels specific to Salesforce that you can subscribe to, including the Dreamforce channel, with videos that cover everything from Development and Admin to architecture and best practices.
Nothing beats actually practicing what you have learned, and there is no better place for hands-on application than Trailhead. Trailhead is an amazing resource with over 300 modules where you can learn everything from coding APEX integrations to Drucker School of business. All in all, Trailhead offers an easy and fun way to learn, with hands-on challenges in your own Salesforce practice environment.
Developers can also sign up for your our free developer Salesforce environment at DeveloperForce.
What better way to show your newfound knowledge than to write a blog? Blogging about your findings has the added advantage of giving back to the Ohana and helping someone else on their path of learning. You don’t have to be an expert,and don’t fall for the trap of thinking that everything about your subject has already been written: You have a new viewpoint to share, and you can always write about your learning experience.
Another great way to teach is to try your hand at answering community questions. In the Success Community, there are sections for unanswered and unsolved questions, which can be answered by members of the community. This is also a great learning resource since you can see how others answered questions.
Explain concepts to different people.
How you would explain Salesforce or cloud computing to your kids would be vastly different from how you would explain to a business user. And that would be different from explaining to a developer.
Richard Feynman, the famous Nobel-physicist (also a very famous teacher), developed this method to effectively learn something: Be able to explain it in simple terms to a new student.
This methodology can be applied by explaining a concept to different people, and layering on different levels of detail. You can either practice this by yourself, or try explaining a topic to your co-workers. It’s also a great way to prepare for a presentation — either to a prospect or at a user event — where you want to target your presentation and level of detail specifically to your audience.
Let’s see how this would look when applied to Salesforce concepts.
Non-Salesforce user: 100,000-foot view
When addressing a non-Salesforce user, don’t use technical terms or abbreviations. Put everything in simple terms. For example, here’s how you might explain cloud computing:
“Well, you know the way Gmail or Facebook just run on your computer when you go to their websites? This is cloud computing. You don’t have to install anything on your PC or laptop. Plus, if you visit your relatives and you want to check your email, you can do so on their computer.”
Executive: 30,000-foot view
Here, we can start to introduce some terms but the main focus is what is the win for the business. So, continuing our example on cloud computing:
“Cloud Computing enables your company to take advantage of economies of scale while also reducing cost, since the cloud computing company will maintain and support the platform. You don’t have to support Salesforce servers — Salesforce takes all of that on for you.”
Business user: 10,000-foot view
Now you can get into lower-level details of the pros and cons of using Salesforce. You can also discuss how the user will get started and up to speed quickly. For our cloud computing example, you can discuss the different Salesforce Clouds, and how to use Trailhead to quickly learn the platform.
Admin/Developer: Ground level
At the Administrator or Developer level, you are getting into specifics of the platform. You can talk about the ‘how’ instead of the ‘why.’ This is where you can use the resources that I mentioned above. If you are presenting, this is where demos really shine.
I hope you enjoyed this journey through resources and methods to learn Salesforce. I have only scratched the surface of all the Salesforce resources out there.Please leave a comment and let me know if you would like follow up articles in this vein on specific Salesforce topics.