What Are Best Practices?
Apply these best practices to help ensure a successful transition.
Adult learners need incentive and context when learning something new.
Adults need a reason for what they’re learning. Communicate the ways that the new technology will be better for the users. How will it make their jobs easier? How will it enable them to find information that was more challenging in the past? In short, what’s in it for them? Gathering and communicating these messages to users before launching the new system is a valuable tool to gain buy-in, and will be the beacon of hope they’ll need to get through what can be a difficult transition period of training and launch.
Adults need context when learning something new. Your users will want to know why the company has decided to move to a new technology, and how it’s going to affect their day-to-day work. In large tech implementations, you need to strike the right balance at the outset between providing enough context that users across the organization see how they fit into the whole, while keeping it general enough that users aren’t bored or overwhelmed with information they don’t need.
When you start training, place emphasis on how each team’s work integrates with others, as well as explain why certain tasks or procedures are in place. Users will be more likely to complete tasks correctly if they understand how their actions affect their colleagues and the overall health of the company.
Never rely on a “one and done” training plan.
Instead, increase retention by giving learners multiple opportunities to be exposed to the new tech. At go-live, provide multi-modal help, such as:
- An online help center with stepped instructions for learners to use as a reminder.
- Follow-up live sessions with SMEs to get questions answered.
- Post go-live evaluations or self-evaluations to allow learners to rate their strengths and weaknesses and allow the training team to meet those needs through follow-up sessions or coaching.
Related to the above, make sure you have a functional help system in place before launching any new technology.
Make sure the staff tasked with helping new users are experts on your technology and processes. They may not necessarily be the usual suspects in the I.T. department or on the Help Desk. Usually it’s best to create a help procedure that allows learners to first try to find answers on their own using performance support materials, and only then escalate to an expert if they are unable to do so. This will help control the volume of help calls that could be expected when first launching your new technology.
Capture all the steps in the process.
This seems obvious, but for some reason it’s often not. When someone very familiar with a software system gives stepped instructions they often fail to mention steps that are obvious (to them) but not obvious to the new user. For this reason, it’s important when writing stepped instructions to perform the procedure as you write. Alternatively, take notes of each step as you perform the task, then write.
Provide repetition in your training.
Respect the limits of the human brain by limiting the training objectives and messages you’re providing at any given training, then repeating those messages and objectives in multiple formats over time.
By applying these principles you are more likely to recover from the impacts of the change you are introducing with the new technology. Your employees will be less stressed by the change, and the new technology will be up and running more quickly.