Best Practise for Systems Training - help please

Hi I've been tasked with developing elearning for new bespoke company software. I've downloaded the free trials of Storyline and Studio and am learning how to use them.

My question is:  What guideance can you give me on the best practise for systems training?  In your experience what works best?

Do people like to watch screen recordings?  Is there a way in Articulate that you can do show people what to do, then test them to see if they have it right?

Which software would you use? Storyline or Studio?

Is it enough to get people to 'click to explore' what each function on the system does, or is it better to have them complete specific tasks with help.  What do you do when there are many little tasks within the programme that need to be completed?  Do you do elearning for all of the tasks?

How do you structure the course?

How do you get people excited about the change to a new system. 

I don't expect systems training to be 'fun', but how can it be made interesting and engaging?

That's loads of questions wrapped into one!   I will look forward to your replies.

4 Replies
Nicole Legault

Hi Isobel!

Sounds like you have a lot of great questions. Thanks for coming to the E-Learning Heroes community with them. 

When it comes to systems training I think you'll probably want to consider using Storyline since it has the screen recording tool. This is the tool that easily lets you capture any process in a system or application, and it can even add in the mouse movements and text captions for you. Here's some links for using the screen recorder:

The screen recorder lets you add your slides as either View mode, Try mode or Test mode. In view mode the learners just watch as the process is done automatically on the screen. In Try mode there are hotspots so they have to click in the right places to do the process themselves (you can add hints for Try mode to help them out) and Test mode is a quiz where they have to click through the process correctly on their own, without help. Of course you can customize any of these modes to do exactly what you need. 

One option would be to let the learners view it first, then give them the option to test it or try it out. 

I would say you maybe don't need a lesson for each and every single task, but definitely the ones that are carried out most often and the ones that are most important.  

One way to make software training more interesting could be to build in scenarios around it. Say they need to fill out a specific form in the system, whats the real life situation or scenario that would "trigger" that process to happen? Maybe by framing it in those real life terms and circumstances you make it more meaningful and engaging to learners.

In my experience people get really stressed out and upset about large scale software changes as it impacts their day to day job a lot. Of course, change management is super important but often an afterthought. Giving people a lot of notice about the change, prep time, making them aware, not surprising them, talking about the WHYs and the benefits of the new system, and seriously addressing and looking at concerns they have is important in managing the change. 

Hope this helps answer some of your questions. I'll try curate some more links to articles and discussions that might be helpful for you.Thanks again for coming to our community with your questions Isobel! Hope to hear from others on this as well.

Joshua Roberts

Hello Isobel,

I wrote a blog post on a creative option for systems training using the video game "Papers, Please", you can access it by clicking here.

Essentially you have to let people know immediately what the benefits are to them of the new system, they need to be engaged from the start rather than thinking "Great! Another new system..."

There are really two prominent ways for proceeding with systems training, either you show the learner and tell them why that process works or (and in my opinion the far better way) you give real task based scenarios that they have to process.

One example is using a new system in a retail store - you could just show the shop assistant how to process a refund on the new system through a screencast and allow them to repeat it. Or you could create some scenarios and then allow the user to process the refund request from the customer on the system. This adds in a real world element that most clients find appealing - as do the learners. Support this method of learning with a virtual coach that can guide the user if they go wrong - you could do a screencast for this for instance!

Systems training is actually great, it's one area you can really surprise the clients by providing a unique experience when they did not expect it. Systems training can be fun and it can be engaging you just have to approach it in the right manner.

Check out the blog, it may be of some help to get the creativity flowing.

Holly MacDonald

Isobel - it depends who your audience is. If this is a system launch within your company I would typically do a "campaign" where you think about awareness, training and support around the launch.

(If you are creating training for software that is sold to other companies, you'd likely approach it a bit differently, as you'd need it to be a bit more generic. I'm interpreting your post as the former, launching it within your company.)

Awareness - what the system is, how it's different from previous, etc - I usually do this as a communication plan, but mix in some screen shots, short screen recordings to provide a glimpse of the system. I'd also share the "training plan". 

Training - how to actually use the s/w. You'll want to think about this in terms of a timeline. What do they need to know immediately? What would you add on after that? I would tend to push out modules like a subscription, rather than just do a one and done approach. I wrote a blog post on "serial" learning here:

Nicole and Joshua have both alluded to incorporating scenarios which can be really interesting. This: integrates the systems side with scenarios nicely. It might not be the best fit for your situation, but it may give you ideas (i.e. the "hint" button).

Support - you'll need to remember that your users won't learn the system from one training interaction, so you'll want to make sure that they are able to get help or refresher training when necessary and I always try to build the solutions together, so that I can re-use content and ensure consistency in materials. It's important understand how they might get stuck, what things they do infrequently, what aspects have a big impact and make sure that there are performance support tools at their fingertips.

The other thing to consider with systems training is the ongoing maintenance - when you design and develop you really need to be mindful about the ongoing work. Screen changes, process updates, new roles, interface improvements, etc might end up making your great systems training a nightmare to maintain, so keep that as a decision criteria in your design process.

Hope that helps,