Friday, December 19, 2014

How to make time for training.

My client asked me if I could help out a couple of his people.

Some background

There is going to be a small meeting on Jan 15th and a big one mid February and at both of those meetings a bunch of new technology pieces are going to be rolled out.

One of those things I've created some on-line job aids for already. Another is the project I'm working on at the moment.

But there are several others that I've not worked on and for some of them nothing exists at all by way of training or job aids.

It is now half way through the week prior to the office pretty much shutting down for 2 weeks.

The request

Could I create a '2 or 3 page pamphlet' to go with the new tech? You see they don't have time for any training.

This started a conversation.

Me: "So, At the end of this what do you want them to be able to do?"

Client: "I want them to be able to understand what is on their new computer"

Me: "What do you mean by 'understand' that and how will you know if they do?"

Client: ........ Has to think for a bit.

The idea

I know what I'm good at.
I'm good at creating multi-level, learner-centric eLearning. The sort that gives the learners the knowledge that there is information available to them on several topics and that they can choose how much detail they want/need for each of the topics.

I also know that if I try and condense large volumes of information it will take me a long time ("I would have written a shorter letter but didn't have the time"- Not Mark Twain) and there will be a lot of discussion about what needs to be in or out of the document.

So I suggested that instead of putting a 'help' PDF on the desktop of these new laptops I could create something a little bit interactive. "Let me show you what I mean."

So I headed to my Storyline, grabbed a Tabs template and created proof of concept in a couple of hours.

The Result

The first screen has one line descriptions of the six new things. If they click on the icons next to those we open up a layer with room for a very brief description and maybe an image or two. The common feature being a Learn more... link that takes them to a full page (or pages if we need to) that will give them a bit more depth on the subject. I populated most of these pages with paragraphs from my favorite Lorem Ipsum generator (It's better with bacon!) and showed it to them.

So I know what i'm going to be doing over the next couple of weeks.

Happy Learning & Happy Holidays


Monday, December 1, 2014

Try and bribe me OR Compliance made interesting

It's Holiday time, and for so many companies that means end-of-year compliance training for so many of their staff.

One of the reasons that eLearning is, let's not mince words here, hated by so many people is that for so many the only eLearning they take in any given year is the raft of compliance training that their company mandates them to take. So much of it is simply of the 'click next to continue' variety. Taken from a classic Death by PowerPoint slide show and converted using a PowerPoint to Flash converter like Articulate Presenter with a voice over added. When it was an instructor led class is was bad. Now it's simply awful. 

And that is what people face all too often. 

But it could be worse.
I worked for a company that had a Sexual Harassment course that was almost that bad. As a manager living in California I had to have a minimum of 60 minutes of Sexual Harassment training each year. The eLearning took about 40 minutes to complete if you did it slowly. When I inquired how to make up my missing 20 I was told to take it again.  

But it could also be better.

Let's look at ethics training. 
Most companies have something along the lines of this and for most they include something about not accepting gifts from vendors or from people outside the organization when this could be seen as some sort of conflict of interest. And maybe there is something there about reporting contacts that could be seen as such to the ethics office or similar.

A good eLearning course will present scenarios and ask the learner to respond to them, giving the learner feedback as to how well those responses match the company policy. 

But how about an alternate approach. This is built on something I first heard out loud from Tom Kuhlman when he came to ASTD Golden Gate for a couple of days in 2013. (Blog post on that here)

Send out the updated policy in a PDF via email and tell everyone to read it and follow it.
Send an email from outside the company to everyone. In the email ask them to do something in breach of policy, like giving a heads up on how sales are this quarter, or if that new product will be ready on time. Offer an incentive of some sort.
Then sit back and see what happens.
  • Some people will follow policy perfectly. Reporting this contact to the appropriate group and awaiting instructions.
  • Most will simply ignore or delete the email. A Minor breach of policy.
  • Some might reply to it in an appropriate way. Telling the person that this is unacceptable behavior. An understandable reaction if not one totally in keeping with policy.
  • And a few might make other contact with the sender.

After a while the folks in group 1 get a 'gold star' and a pass on any further ethics training that year. Maybe a prize goes to the fastest reaction in this group.
Groups 2 and 3 have to take a short eLearning reminding them about the policy and why it is important to follow it.
Group 4 get some serious training. Maybe eLearning, maybe even Instructor led.

Now that is something that is truly performance based training.

Happy Learning