The approach and types of training intervention used in any particular project will depend upon the specific requirements of the organisation and its user base. However certain overarching principles will always apply, for example the layered approach to training activities, enabling a flexible solution to end user requirements. These layers can be categorised as:
- Core Training and In-Application Support
- e.g., Classroom/Virtual Classroom, Simulations, On- System Guidance Programs
- Optional Training
- e.g., Video Tutorials, Quick Reference Guides, Job Aids
- Targeted Interventions
- e.g., Workshops, Drop-in Sessions, Webinars
- Individual Support and Guidance
- 1-1 Sessions, Small group coaching, Mentoring
Note that the position of any of the example activities is not fixed and they can be moved from one category to another if required.
This Layered approach fits into the Bell curve analysis of User requirements like so:
Note that all layers are available to any user, the diagram simple indicates the increased likelihood that certain groups will use them.
The key focus is to understand the types of training activities available and how to select the most appropriate for the user set in question and/or the organisational needs.
Selecting Training Activities
When considering the type of Training activity to use for a given group of users, it is important to consider several factors. By assessing each training medium using the following list (and others if you feel it is appropriate) you can start to rule content types in or out of a solution.
As suggested above the following list is not exclusive or compulsory and you should include or exclude attributes as appropriate.
- Quality. This is sub-divided into two parts; Quality of the material and Quality of the learning it provides. While the first is important and may add to the “kerb appeal” (see below) of an activity, without quality learning its usefulness is severely diminished.
- Interactivity. Often seen as measure of the quality of eLearning material, interactivity forms a critical part of any training course. It should however be noted that some Interactive learning can be time consuming for end users. For example, a user with 80 – 100 processes to learn could be looking at up to 30 hours or more learning and assessment. Any benefit gained from an interactive experience may well be negated by the duration of the training.
- “Kerb appeal”. Borrowed from the housing market, this term has a parallel meaning. It describes an items immediate appeal to an end user. While the activity should also have a quality learning component, Kerb appeal is useful to develop early buy in to the training and improve user engagement.
- Ease/Cost of development and delivery. There is often a direct correlation between ease of development and the ease of update, but these two factors must be considered in relation to the final criterion below.
- Ease/Cost of Update. As stated above this may rule out very complex, interactive media. It is important therefore that any activity that is at risk of even semi-regular change should be constructed in such a way that it can be readily updated. This may impact on the complexity and kerb appeal of an item but should never impact on the quality of the learning it provides.
- Cost effectiveness. While quality must always be at the forefront of any decision, there are times when the number of end users in any functional area means that very high development/delivery costs cannot be entertained. In these circumstances we need to develop smart solutions that retain the high quality of learning while working within the constraints of acceptable spend.
- Ease or Cost of update is slightly subjective and will depend greatly on the internal skill set of the organisation. Some examples of differing levels of cost of updates for specific training activities is given below.
|Low cost of Update||Medium cost of Update||High cost of update|
|QRG||Training environment exercises||Simulation|
|System process guide||Classroom/VC session||Animations|
|Job Aid||Process video without sound||Video with sound|
|Peer support||Mentoring||Interactive eLearning|
|Troubleshooting sessions / Masterclass||Podcast||In app support|
The other factor to consider is the “volatility” of the processes covered by a piece of training. This will impact the effort required to keep training in step with the system. While it is impossible to accurately judge the level of change within a particular area of functionality over a 6–12-month period, some areas may be less susceptible and therefore lend themselves to content that has a higher update cost.
The following table contains some examples and is not to be considered exhaustive.
|Highly Stable||Potential low impact change||Potential high impact change|
|Navigation||Month end processes||System processes|
|Business process||Spreadsheet uploads||UI Changes|
|Accessing reports/td>||Admin tasks||Data Fields (Flex fields etc.)|
|Accessing Training resources|
With these factors in mind, you can now start to assign a suitability score to each of your available learning activities. An example of such an analysis is shown below. It is important to note that the scores will differ from organisation to organisation, as they will have different priorities. The scores may also be slightly different between groups of users, especially the Kerb Appeal and Training/Support Value scores.
|Intervention||“Kerb Appeal”||Interactivity||Training / Support Value||Relative ease of Development||Relative ease of delivery||Ease of Update|
|Environment based exercises||3||8||9||5||4||6|
|In App guidance||7||7||6||8||7||4|
|Video of Processes||7||4||7||6||4||4|
|Master class/ Issues Workshop||6||8||7||7||5||7|
|Virtual master class/Workshop||6||8||7||7||5||7|