How Job Aids Can Save Lives

On-demand training and just-in-time resources have been something we have been talking about in the podcast recently, and in today’s post, I’m going to move this conversation from theoretical to practical. 

Hurricane Season Holds a Key Lesson for Learning & Development Professionals

I live in Florida, which is one of the only places in the country with five seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall, and…hurricane season! Yes, while most people are shoveling through six feet of snow in February, we certainly live in a tropical paradise, but hurricane season is definitely one of the drawbacks to this otherwise idyllic setting. 

Hurricanes are a fact of life here. They can be extremely dangerous, and yet there is no OSHA-mandated compliance training that everyone in Florida has to take. Some residents have lived through countless hurricanes while others may be newly transplanted. No two cities are impacted in the same way, and very few people prepare in the same way. Herein is where I think our Florida Hurricane Experience holds a key lesson for learning and development people. 

What Can You Do When Formal Training Just Won’t Work?

The idea here is not to have people memorize information or to take courses for day-to-day use. The goal is to have something present and usable as a performance support aid when the moment calls for it.

Since people need to be prepared and yet we cannot mandate a class, a virtual session, or even a self-guided elearning course to make sure everyone is prepared, we can offer just-in-time performance support. Hurricane season lasts for several months out of the year, but residents are only in hurricane prep mode once the cones and spaghetti models (which is Florida-speak for those weather maps you see on TV that try to predict the hurricane’s path) start to shift toward those regions. 

If you live in an area where hurricane season is actually a thing, we’ve prepared a resource that you can take with you to the store or put directly into your hurricane kit for when it’s time to use it. If you don’t live in a hurricane-impacted area, I encourage you to still take a look at this resource and think about what lessons may be transferable when you have crucial information that needs to be shared with people for whom formal training just won’t work. The idea here is not to have people memorize information or to take courses for day-to-day use. The goal is to have something present and usable as a performance support aid when the moment calls for it.

hurricane preparedness job aid

The Power of a Well-Designed Job Aid

Of course, this checklist is just one example of performance support. Job aids can come in many forms, shapes, and sizes, from videos to tutorials to chatbots to wallet cards or stickers that can be placed on or near your computer with key information.

Not all just-in-time performance support needs to save lives…but some job aids can do just that. Just because it’s not a formal way to learn something, never discount the power of a well-designed job aid!

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