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Technology Training

Technology Transformation & Adoption

What Is It?

When we think about technology training, our first thoughts are about training design and development for computer software applications and systems. But, really, technology training is much more broad, including topics from coding, to using hardware such as computers, tablets or smart phones, to maintaining and repairing complex machinery. The good news is that, no matter what kind of technology training you need to do, applying good instructional design and change management principles will help ensure a successful transition to the new way of working for your team.

Prime Screenshot 2
employee onboarding
employee onboarding

What Does It Look Like?

We favor a multi-modal or blended learning approach to technology training. Consider the following components as an example of a blended learning approach to user adoption:

  1. A series of staff meetings to introduce the new system or technology. In these, provide a timeline and plan for training and answer any questions and concerns employees may have based on the information (and rumors!) they’ve heard.
  2. A series of communications about the various “wins” that can be expected by implementing the new technology. These might take the form of email, videos, or even an event, such as a technology fair or exposition.
  3. Introductory eLearning modules to introduce key concepts and set a baseline for learners coming into instructor-led training (ILT). In some cases, you might provide more comprehensive eLearning to staff in lieu of ILT, but that doesn’t mean you should allow eLearning to be the only exposure to the new content.
Epicor Systems Training

4. Instructor-led training with time for the learners to practice (and not just follow along with the instructor). The training will also cover knowledge checks and evaluations, including user self-evaluations, which you will use to follow up with the learners.

5. Follow-up coaching. This might look like a series of short sessions to address common questions and weak spots that are uncovered during training evaluations. Or it could be one-on-one coaching with learners to help them get up to speed.

6. Performance Support. Ideally, you should provide a help center where new users can get step-by-step instructions for using the new technology. Often this would take the form of a website or SharePoint location. Don’t forget to teach your learners how to access it.

The key message to take away is this: Don’t rely on a single training event.

 

What Are Best Practices?

Apply these best practices to help ensure a successful transition.

Adult learners need incentive and context when learning something new.

Incentive
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.
 
Context
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.

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