There are many examples of human endeavors that would not have ended well without training. Moon shots, marathon running, heart surgery and triple axles (not 100% sure what that is) are just a few that come to mind. But don’t just think of training as necessary only to achieve super human feats.
Training is one concrete way to maximize the value of your software investments, a more mundane but very worthwhile goal. It doesn’t matter what type of software it is, if users don’t use it (out of fear) or use it incorrectly, the investment will not pay off – aka, Failure. That failure can be avoided with well thought out training.
There is a possibility that software was purchased and there was no real need. No amount of training will fix that. But if there was a demonstrated need and the software has the functionality and passes all of the user testing, then training will be beneficial. Here is where things get a little tricky. What type of training do you need – Fearful Users, Busy Users or Silent Users?
Some users are not technology wizards and they have a fear that they will break the software or that they can’t do it. These users need training that is patient, methodical and repetitive. Reinforcement that nothing is going to break and a backup exists will help. Involving their peers as trainers will be less stressful on Fearful Users. Getting to some quick success will also help.
Busy Users are very busy and don’t stop to listen, they just click on anything that moves or frankly that doesn’t move. Typical training gets sidetracked because the Busy User has gone into a rabbit hole and time is wasted trying to get out. Methodical, phased training is the best solution for Busy Users. Ideally, only showing the minimum number of options initially reduces the chances of going off the rails. When concepts are grasped, add some additional functionality.
ForSilent Users or users that don’t explore the software or ask questions, the training needs to be on the value of the help file or the availability of the support desk. Many times these users will develop their own work-around to a problem because they were not aware a feature existed that could help them. These Silent Users just need to be trained to click Help or call support. Call the software provider, they would love to hear from these users and get real world examples of problems the user is trying to solve.
These are simplified classifications of users and not intended to be a slam on any type of user. All users learn differently and all need training to overcome some issue that will prevent them from achieving maximum success. The onus is not on the users. The onus is on the employers, trainers and software providers to recognize the types of users they have and to develop appropriate training. It’s not likely that you will get someone from accounting to perform heart surgery with some training, but you might cut down on costly and embarrassing billing mistakes.
Here are a few articles that might be helpful and there are many more resources out there to help make your training pay off.
Millennia Group is a workflow and document management solution provider founded in 1996. For more information please visit our website at www.mgdocs.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.