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The E-coach Blog
E-Learning Approaches to Developing Systems Training
By Alison Bickford on March 8, 2012
What’s an effective and efficient way to develop training of a new system that won’t break the bank?
If this was a question for broad use systems training, such as Microsoft Office 2010, then the answer may have been to:
- use the performance support tools that the systems provider offers (Microsoft support has improved)
- purchase an off-the-shelf e-learning package (e.g. from Skillsoft or InterAction)
- look at Lynda.com as a viable option for performance support in video format
In this case it is not a broadly used system, and the vendor does not provide e-learning for it’s product because it is largely customised. So, what are the options? If possible, consider creating e-learning solutions for three kinds of learning outcomes and learner states:
1. Present the concept and key messages
The first thing employees need to know is “why the change?” Be sure to sell the benefits of the new system truthfully – what it will do for employees, customers and the organisation. Address the “why” both in the e-learn, and with comprehensive corporate communication.
Create an e-learning course that introduces employees to the system as a whole. Introduce the concept of the system and how it fits with current processes – what changes, and what stays the same. Use real case studies to contextualise the new system in daily activites. You may wish to track this course on teh LMS to ensure everyone is across the change.
2. Provide bite-size topics in reusable form, at the point of need
This is about creating training solutions to address the ”how” – the ”how do I” user questions. Use a screen capturing tool (e.g. Camtasia) and export to video format. Be sure to script the topics for video first, to gain agreement on what’s important and what’s not. Publish the videos in places that are searchable and make sense to the end users, such as inside the system’s help function, on the intranet, or on in-field laptops via a synchronised mechanism. Make sure the videos are short (2-4 minutes) and address discrete topics.
A FAQ online user forum is another cost effective way to manage questions associated with specific topics. Allow everyone to contribute to user questions – this is called user generated content.
3. Provide a mechanism for ongoing support
This is about demonstrating that you will provide personalised support – that there are no excuses not to become a proficient user of the system. Scheduled webinars are a good way to provide ongoing support. For example, during systems roll-out you can offer training on specific topics or ad-hoc support via webinar between 3-4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Of course, providing employees with ways to access system “Superusers” is another great way to tap into the social network of organisations to get upskilling across.
The Bottom Line
- Effective change management is about a) communication, b) education and c) modelling behaviour. The three approaches outlined above ticks each of these boxes.
- Effective training requires both context and detail. Be sure to engage hearts and minds, and the practicalities of using the system.
- Don’t put “how do I” content in Learning Management Systems (LMS). LMS are too far away from workflow, and this kind of content does not need to be tracked.
- Look for creative ways to assess that your training approach has worked, such as a drop in Helpdesk enquiries, a drop in users accessing FAQs, and a audit of content being entered into the system.
- Don’t train the system in isolation. Ensure real case studies and processes are used to create context around the system.