Wednesday, 15 July 2009

IT training should focus on performance support

Charles Jennings great article on "How not to train" has been featured on trainingzone but I recommend you go back to his blog for a fuller version. His point is clear. Systems training delivers little value (negative value according to Jay Cross' comment) when following the traditional model of delivery. Train weeks before go live, provide little intervening support then let them loose once the system is up and (sort of) running. Might as well as not bothered, says Charles.

Systems rollouts are a specific case of the "elephant in the room" - training delivered by the wrong people, to the wrong people, at the wrong time, in the wrong way. This equates to no learning, and no valued added to individual nor organisation.

Even a good training delivery by the right people to the right people (this is where most training measurement settles for fantastic feedback on happy sheets) if delivered at the wrong time in the wrong way, yields no learning in the long term and no added value.

One point though to consider - if you can design e-learning (in the form of simulations) for delivery prior to go live - accepting that it does not mimic the live system exactly (80/20 rule applies) - you can achieve a great deal in terms of confidence building and familiarity with the underlying business processes the system embodies. This e-learning can then be quickly updated (using the right tools and resources) and used as performance support and ongoing induction for new staff. EPSS can then take the weight going forward.

Of course, nothing beats making a system intuitive to use in the first place. But then I'm now clearly asking too much of the world...


Jeff Goldman said...

I create a fair amount of online systems training and I agree that it can be very beneficial to roll out sims prior to the go live date, but not too soon before the live date. Retention can be an issue and I like people to be using the system soon after training.

In addition, I try to also provide job aids with the training. If the system is not intuitive or the tasks taught are very complicated, the job aid can be a big help to the users after training. If geography and resources allow, I like to also offer "training labs" in which after attending the online training, system users can come in to a computer lab and receive coaching on whatever issues they are having or still confused about.

Lars Hyland said...

You make some good points Jeff. Timing is key. I have found that with large audiences there is a real need to prepare people to learn using the e-learning/performance support tools you provide. That's where some early orientation, close to go-live can defuse the fear of change. A mix of approaches can only be beneficial though I suspect this has to be balanced with cost of provision. But then again, the cost of error, low productivity, lost customers in the early days of rollout is a far greater cost to bear.

rone said...

Interesting post to read.. Ya i agree that training giving to the wrong person at wrong timing by the wrong person is not worthful.. and also training giving to the right person at wrong timings by the right person is also worthless.. So training to the right person at right timing by right person will add value to any work.. SO training is must for any work to start with perfection..


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Archie @ it online training said...

Your post is very interesting and informative.

It is true that we should focus on the performance part because this line of work is more on application.

Thanks for sharing this valuable post! Keep it up!

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