First, let me say that we love e-learning courses. They can be extremely effective and convenient for learners and trainers alike, but sometimes a full-fledged e-learning course isn’t a viable method of teaching something. Sometimes your learners need the info right then-and-there; they need training at their fingertips. This is when it’s ideal to implement the use of job aids.
‘Job aid’ is a wide-ranging term which refers to a supplemental piece of learning that can be accessed on demand, such as while out in the field or while executing a work-related task. These aids can be extremely powerful as their information is only accessed when the user needs it (rather than a user being told they need to know something) and they are generally very ‘to-the-point’. This means learners can get exactly what they need, when they need it, as many times as it takes to retain the information.
Taking the idea of ‘training at your fingertips’ quite literally, we recently designed some hot key stickers for our D3 call centers that are placed on the top of our call handlers’ keyboards. These job aids give call handlers instant access to all of their most-used keyboard hot keys whenever they need them. Over time, seeing and using the hot keys repeatedly will lead to a high retention of the ones which are most important, and if the call handler ever forgets a key combination, the aid is right there to fill in the blanks.
We could have taken more time and developed an extensive ‘Important D3 Hot Keys’ course, presenting all of the necessary hot keys with interactions, diagrams, and quizzes, but it didn’t make sense for our application. We didn’t want this to be something our call handlers looked through once, completed, and forgot. And we knew that due to the fast-paced environment call handlers work in, that opening a large e-learning course and fumbling through slides to find the hot key they needed was out of the question. Thus, in our case, developing a simple, to-the-point job aid was the most effective method of training for both our learners and our budget.
So, the next time you’re gearing up for a full-fledged e-learning course, ask yourself if a full course is necessary, or if the material might be better presented in the form of a job aid. You might just save yourself some time, and your learners some frustration, in the process.