BETTER results with LESS training

I'm guessing that most of us are needing to do less with more these days...I know we are. With that in mind I've been wondering what are some of the ways that you have dealt with this?

Things we've done sometimes include NOT building a course in favor of other, better or more efficient options including:

  • Keep course durations as short as possible (I think we should do this regardless don't you?)
  • simply let them read a PDF for informational type scenarios
  • Use email or an email campaign. I think weekly monthly bite-size delivery ( aka the slow drip method) can sometimes be more effective than an annual course
  • Facilitate access to the SMEs directly via SharePoint, Yammer, Social Media, email, etc etc (SME willingness & ability is assumed here. )
  • Short video or screencast (aka Screenr, etc.)
  • Create a job aid instead of a course

What others would you add to this list?

And when/how do you pivot stakeholders to these alternatives when they come to you and ask for "training"?

Thanks for your comments. I look forward to hearing from you all. 8-)

9 Replies
david stokes

Totally agree with this approach Mike, a good list of alternatives. I think brief "nuggets" of learning are particularly effective for audiences with short attention spans (myself included).  Some other possibilities for the list...

  • Supplement lengthy software training manuals with one page quick guides or "turbostarts"
  • Simple scenario based learning to promote engagement
  • Sharing expertise via online forums, setting questions and scenarios, etc
  • Short eBook type content, with diagrams

Ethan Waldman

Interesting discussion. At the company I work, people really like instructor led training. But as we've spread out, that means shifting to WebEx as a delivery platform instead of the classroom.  What we've been doing is actually using the eLearning and job aids we create as the content for the webinar.  That way, an SME doesn't have to "teach" and everyone's happy because they feel like they got a live instructor-led course. Plus, they are already familiar with the help resources for later!

Beverly Scruggs

The only problem we have with e-mail campaigns (weekly or monthly nuggets) is our employees become numb to them after the first couple. Especially our field employees, who are in a hurry to get through their e-mail and get out the door to get their "real" work done. They become very good at hitting the "delete" button without reading the message!

All our employees (office and field) seem to like the short modules they can either view individually or in groups. We're going to try our hand at webinars next.

Zara Ogden

I feel like the knot in the rope in a game of tug of war. On one side I appreciate the necessity of compliance and Health & Safety Training (even like building it) but on the other I know what limitations and attitudes are in the field.

Right now my biggest struggle is getting the compliance side to stop the legal jargon and open up to alternate teaching. And convince the opps that you can't learn everything in 5min.

I am slowly trying to make a push for some of the following...

  • more take-a-ways and job aids in replacement of modules
  • education on how to find the info not teaching what the info is to the last degree
  • more open learning aka here is the module with the main point then here are all the detail that you can learn if you choose. 
  • building programs and sessions that take all factors into account. Practical and Theory. Don't build separate.
Eric Rohrer

I find my clients are asking me to develop much shorter training "snippets" than full blown courses these days. Why? I think it's because we're in the Google age. Think of how we are so conditioned now to turn to Google to find every answer to every question, and we have to find it fast, then apply it to the task at hand. Lather, rinse, repeat. People just don't have time for "courses" anymore (unless they really have motivation or if it's mandatory). My job as an ID over the past 15 years has gone from crating gargantuan curriculums to creating quick reference pieces (3 minute screencasts, job aids, etc.). With a good strategy, these pieces can be organized and structured in a common place, re-used for multiple contexts (training, sales tools, marketing demos, help desks, etc.), and prescribed in various sequences to meet certain needs.   

Rich Johnstun

We are spending less time teaching people the information and more time teaching people how to find the information. My core audience is technical in nature and the amount of stuff they need to know is staggering. As we move into the age of hyper-connectivity and powerful mobile devices/applications, it becomes less about knowing the answer and more about being able to find the answer. 

Having said all of that, we chop our training up into much smaller bites which allows them to be used as a performance support tool after the training is initially completed. Our "core" training is very focused on key functional concepts. Once you have those key concepts, all of the additional "how to's" are kind of tacked on using mini-modules. 

I can give you an example. I'm teaching a technician how to repair a piece of equipment they haven't ever seen before. We might bring them into a classroom, instructor led environment so they can understand how that thing works. Then, instead of teaching them every little nuanced adjustment or tweak in that same setting, we will supplement it using short "how to" elearning modules. That way when they are trying to physically do something onsite, they can watch a 90sec video on how to make an adjustment while they are there trying to do it. We spend time in the classroom making them familiar with all of these resources and making sure they know how to find the information when it's needed. 

Carmen Toro

Our government agency has an extreme amount of information that caseworkers for the Department of Public Welfare must know in order to determine eligibility for clients accurately. We have over 80 elearning modules that are topic specific. I focus and consolidating the information that is avaiable from several different sources, providing job aid and pocket reference guides that are one page that can help them with a specific topic. 

Convincing upper management that you don't have to mention everything in one module that staff may need to access or consider is a struggle at times. But after 4 years we are slowly getting there.    

Natalia Mueller

I'm actually on several projects like this right now. We see more need for on-demand type resources like short tutorials, job aids, quick reference guides, etc.  Each project has its own wiki site where the user can choose which resource they need.

For example, we recently upgraded to Office 2010. The package came with several full courses for each application, but we felt like those were more for someone that wanted to learn a program they didn't already know. What about the people who are just trying to get a task done, can't figure out to execute a familiar command in the 2010 version when they know they could do it in the older version. That person probably doesn't want to go watch an entire course at that moment. So we put all On-Demand resources (cross reference guides, etc) on the wiki where they can also find out more about the project, add comments, read FAQs, etc.

This would not work for every project, but we are beginning to consider these types of alternatives more frequently.