I was working with a team last week to push forward a sales training program that I was helping them develop. At one point, a sales team member asked: Have you ever used Quizlet?
No, I hadn’t.
She pulled out her phone and showed me how she quickly created a series of flashcards to help her study terminology she’d need in order to sound intelligent and informed during her sales calls.
The flashcards were basic – nothing flashy – but they could be used by someone sitting in front of a computer (via the desktop version) or someone who was on the road (via the free app). I was intrigued. Continue reading
Last week I was brainstorming performance support ideas with a colleague. She shared how her team needed to be able to easily find information quickly when speaking on the phone with a variety of audiences. This wasn’t just for some information, her team needed to be able to quickly access bits and pieces of information from an enormous catalog of ways to address concerns of the people with whom they interacted.
Was there a way to get our learning management system to do this? Or perhaps there was a way to do this through a complex series of variables created in Storyline?
I thought for a moment.
“Why not do it in a Word document?” I asked. Continue reading
I was asked to deliver the keynote speech for the Desert Produce Safety Collaboration Conference. This was a group of people who are responsible for keeping the food that goes onto your dinner table safe and healthy. Making sure they and the people they work with are well-trained and well-equipped to do their jobs is kind of important.
I certainly talked about standard elements to more effective training programs – incorporating principles of adult learning, identifying clear objectives and the like. But in speaking with the conference organizer about some of the challenges this audience faces – only having 15 minutes at the beginning of the day, needing to train people in English and Spanish, having a new group of workers in the fields every day that may or may not have received earlier training – I realized I was going to need to go beyond traditional instructional design basics. Continue reading
As I was waiting for my luggage to appear at the baggage claim in Delhi last week, a colleague pointed this sign out to me:
In a place where honking drivers navigate their way through the crowded streets seemingly by echolocation and sensory overload insights, sounds, tastes, and smells are everywhere, the airport did indeed seem oddly quiet.
If you can’t make out the fine print at the bottom of the screen, it says: “To know the status of your flight, please check the flight information display at various locations.”
It was brilliant. Someone at the airport must have decided that the “training” they were offering – a constant stream of announcements over the PA system – was ineffective. They also must have determined that passengers were probably smart enough that, if pointed in the right direction with good signage, they’d be able to find what they needed.
When someone can learn how to do something without having to complete a training course, it saves them time. It saves you time. Everyone is happy. Unless it’s done poorly. Then it’s just frustrating. Unless, of course, you design fool-proof job aids.
Last week I wrote about how our IT guy devised a way to reduce the amount of “help” calls and emails he received simply by putting two photos on the LCD projector in our conference room. It turns out, this idea was actually the brainchild of our office manager, not our IT guy – this goes to show that learning can come from anyone and happen anywhere. It goes back to the idea that 70% of learning doesn’t happen through a training course or an elearning course or even through conversations with a manager or mentor… it happens on the job.
What Doesn’t a Fool-Proof Job Aid Look Like?
And this sort of “on the job training” can be all around us – at work and in life in general. This past weekend I went Christmas shopping with my 3-year-old son and when I went to pay for parking, I used this machine:
I love to be seen as a resource to my colleagues. But every once in a while I get tired of saying the same thing over and over. I’m thinking our IT guy (as well as IT guys all around the world) feel similarly. And he came up with a slick solution: training without a trainer.
I was sitting in a team meeting the other day and I looked at the projector we were using and I saw these images taped to the projector: