Technology is pervasive, it is found in every corner of modern life. Technology is abundant, with ever changing systems and processes seemingly proceeding without end. Technology is difficult for some to learn, and each iteration of a new application or device earns another battle with the idea of adoption.
Even the most technologically savvy staff will require some kind of training whenever a new piece of technology comes into play. This could be as simple as updating the appearance of their email system due to an upgrade or as complex as adding a new phone system to replace the one they currently have that looks like it is straight out of the movie Die Hard. This becomes more difficult with an evolving workforce comprised of multiple locations, remote workers, with various hours and schedules. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 50% of the US workforce holds a job compatible with at least part time telework, and at least 20% teleworks with some frequency.
So the question then becomes, “how do I provide effective training for a remote, diverse staff, which enables them to learn when they can the processes and procedures necessary to perform their jobs?”
Live Training via Webinar
One popular solution is to host one, or a series of, live webinars for the audience to attend. This format encourages, and actually thrives on interaction, with participants able to get all of their questions answered in real-time. According to Adobe, though, attendance to webinars sits at about 36% of those who registered, while over half downloaded the webinar content or watched its recording later. For those third that attended, about half participated, most often by answering poll questions, with just about 2 in 5 asking questions in a moderated Q&A session.
According to Mirasee, the numbers are even more grim, showing that only 20-30% will even attend a live webinar that they registered for. Of course, this can be improved by mandating attendance, and there are loads of articles about how to force your attendees to come to your content, but in the end, these numbers show a clear lesson that, for whatever reason, webinars are not well received, they don’t invite meaningful participation, and they simply are not the best way to train new processes and systems to end users.
Webinars may be ideal for those tasks and audience who are more interested in the “why” around processes, rather than the “how”. For example, supervisors and managers could benefit more from a webinar about how to use a new payroll system, while employees only need to know how to check their time and fill out their timesheets.
Since more than half of those who register for a webinar download the recording for later consumption, it seems logical that recorded trainings would be a natural fit. A recording lacks the ability for interaction of a webinar, but would allow a consumer to review the content as often as necessary, and if well constructed, can even have topical breakdowns for easier examination.
One other advantage of a recorded format is found in new hire training. If you rely on live training or even webinars to teach staffers about core responsibilities, you must either train in waves of hires to justify the costs associated with a full time, live trainer, or you must hope that they can learn the necessary skills via job shadowing.
While being static, in the sense that recorded trainings are not interactive, they can be ideal for front-end users who may not all be able to leave their job for 30 minutes to an hour at a time to learn their job (such as they would have to do for a live webinar).
Blending with Job Aids
Printed job aids that flow in a similar manner to the way information was presented in either webinar or recorded format adds an extra layer to the learning cake. Unified graphics help remind the viewer what they learned before, and consistent screenshots for more complex processes help carry this message onward, as well.
While webinars are great for presenting information for the more complex tasks and users such as local administrators, recording trainings result in better engagement for end-users and they can be built into a library for ongoing training in the future. Whichever method you choose becomes enhanced further by the proper job aids.