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How to Build Effective Job Aids
Transcript of How to Build Effective Job Aids
How to Build Effective Job Aids
Benefits of Job Aids
IMPACT ON THE BOTTOM LINE
Key Features of Job Aids
Exist in the environment
Exist apart from the individual
Are called on by the performer when a challenge arises
Serve as storehouses for information and perspectives
Diminish a person's reliance on memory
Exist in diverse formats, such as notes, posters, and protocols
Have the potential to contribute to work and non-work aspects of life
The Job Aid Life Cycle
1. Clarify the problem to be solved.
2. Choose the format and medium.
3. Prepare a draft of the Job Aid.
4. Pilot the Job Aid.
5. Revise the Job Aid.
6. Manage the Job Aid.
The traditional view of job aids vs. a broader view of job aids
First: Why do we (Training & Performance professionals) exist?
To develop courses?
To help the organization and individuals within it be the VERY BEST.
To create training?
To develop procedures?
IMPACT ON THE INDIVIDUAL
Job aids can be developed in 3 - 5 times less time than training for memorization.
People do their work better and feel better about their work when they have permission to forget.
Individuals cannot be expected to know how to do a task if:
1) The task is COMPLEX.
2) The task is CRITICAL.
3) The task is INFREQUENTLY PERFORMED.
4) The skills are a "BIG STRETCH" for them.
5) The information CHANGES FREQUENTLY.
6) The volume of information is LARGE.
How many of these sound familiar?
IMPACT ON THE NATURE OF WORK
The United States has moved from the Industrial Age to the Information Age.
People are seeking to work smarter, not harder.
There is a move toward remote work stations with job aids.
IMPACT ON TRAINING
Transfer of training
Quality of Training
Time within training devoted to using job aids is relevant and useful.
What do employees need to know?
What is the goal?
What actions make the difference?
Transfer of personnel
Revision of training
Easier to revise job aids than behaviors that are trained.
Difference between INSTRUCTION and JOB AIDS
Instruction occurs BEFORE the need arises to build the CAPACITY of the individual.
Job Aids direct
when the need to know arises
What is a job aid?
Why job aids?
What are the drawbacks of job aids?
When should we use job aids?
we use job aids?
Does this sound familiar?
10 Key Conclusions
What, in our business, might drive the need for more/more comprehensive job aids?
Focus on quality
Need for increased cross-training
New services nobody is an expert on (DOJ, Nationstar)
Managers having increasing responsibilities and not being proficient in training/coaching
Clients changing constantly with tight timeframes
A repository for information, processes, or perspectives
External to the individual so that the individual does not rely on memory
Supports work and activity
Directs, guides, and enlightens performance
Enhances performers' enthusiasm and confidence
We must distinguish between providing INFORMATION and EDUCATION
We must base our success not on how many PPMs/classes/etc. we provide, but how
performance is supported
It's difficult to determine how to quantify the time spent on job aids.
Job aids require collaboration between tech writers and instructors, who are operating under similar but separate expectations.
Oversimplification of content can occur, especially when the tasks require judgement.
The hand off between development and implementation is often forgotten. Best case: basic training on use of job aids; worst case: a memo explaining the importance of the job aid. When performance is dependent on knowledge, approaches or procedures that change frequently
When the performance is infrequent
When the situation is
, has multiple
, or multiple
When the consequences of errors are high
When performance depends on a large body of information
When performance is dependent on knowledge, approaches or procedures that change frequently
When employee performance can be improved through self-assessment and correction with new or emphasized standards in mind (think FYIs)
When the task is simple, but there is high turnover
When there is little time or few resources to devote to training (I would add space)
When job aids would diminish credibility (i.e., when job aids are in place for processes that should be known)
When speedy performance is a priority
When novel and unpredictable situations are involved
When smooth, fluid performance is top priority (example: athletes)
When the employee lacks sufficient reading, listening, or reference skills (we must factor in reading level and what reference materials the audience is used to)
Informational or to supplement procedures
Used when the need arises
Influence perspective and decision making
Used before, during and after performance
sensitivity to security guidelines, checklists to ensure completion, quality control job aids for reviewing performance.
Job Aids Contexts
Formats for Job Aids
Steps in a sequence involving user calculations.
Bodies of information with meaningful organization and structure.
If/then situations with solutions based on the conditions of the situation.
Sequence of yes/no questions that lead to a conclusive end.
Lists critical information that must be considered/verified.
Activities in a sequence for a narrowly-defined purpose.
These formats used together for complex situations.
What types of situations might warrant the use of more than one of these in tandem?
There is a human need to take an overload of information, diminish chaos, and make sense of it.
to make data useful and help the user answer who, what, which, or where.
Most useful when:
Organized from the user's frame of reference.
Must be accessible when needed.
to show and tell actions, order, and results.
Most useful when:
It answers the question of
to use it &
to perform the task.
are paired with
Must develop a culture where the following take place:
Collaboration on job aid development
End users identify opportunities for job aids & support job aid maintenance.
prompts the user regarding approaches, thoughts, and perspectives for undertaking a job.
Most useful when the consequence of error is high and the situation is complex.
Quicker dissemination of information
Increased user confidence
Data is not information until it enables knowledge and understanding.
Procedures mandate a course of action in a particular sequence.
Job aids "show and tell" those actions, the order AND THE RESULT.
Coaching job aids are heuristic.
Algorithms: clear, unvarying steps--their order, decision, alternatives, and results are clear.
Heuristics: SUGGEST ways to think about ambiguous areas of life and work: ideas, questions, topics to consider, "rules of thumb".
First, determine what information
supports this task.
Then, collect information about:
The best way of doing/approaching the task
The common errors/misjudgments made by users
The kind/level of help needed by the user
Information can be collected by: observing, interviewing, or performing the task (
when possible, all three
Who is using it (are they a native English speaker)?
What is the work environment?
What resources are available?
Then, choose a format comfortable/familiar to the user.
Bring together a development team (designer, SMEs, etc.) to explain the process (including the format/medium), the roles of each person, the time, and the tasks.
Develop a lean structure for the job aid.
Choose a title that describes the "how to", that will indicate to users how the job aid will help them
Use the user's vocabulary
Provide examples when appropriate
Lead with action verbs
Emphasize action, reason for action, and result
Present the information in digestible bits
Use white space to de-clutter
Graphics, graphics, graphics! For clarity, detail, and perspective
With technology, we can enhance and combine all three!
"Alfonzo, a training manager for a computer software company, has a history of reliance on information and procedural job aids for sales training. In fact, his first effort when he got the new position in customer service was to write out procedural steps for handling a customer complaint.
Unfortunately, although it looked good, it did not solve the problems. Customer Service Reps claimed that they could not follow all of the steps in the heat of the moment. Alfonzo decided to use a heuristic job aid to influence the way these people approached customers.
He first asked a selected group to come up with five general problems.
He then prepared a coaching job aid that conveyed guidelines to handle those problems.
If it is
will not be used
Test a representative group of end users. Provide the job aid in the same format as it will be during implementation.
Ask the user:
Do you have any questions?
Were you unsure at any time?
Were some steps harder to follow than others?
Was it difficult to use at your workstation?
Were the instructions clear?
Were the steps ordered correctly?
Were there times you needed more information?
Were there times there was too much information?
Did you see any typos?
Are there circumstances not covered?
Use the information from the pilot to revise
Obtain approval from SMEs and management
Reproduce and package as decided in the initial meeting
Must keep an eye on the following forces to determine if the job aid continues to be useful
Does it meet the needs of the new users?
The work environment:
Who is responsible for revising it? The same person who initiated it?
The job aid itself:
Is everyone using the latest version?
The revision system:
Is there incentive to successfully introducing, maintaining, and revising it?
1. Good job aids are build on good needs assessment (not used all the time, only when appropriate).
2. They must be introduced into the environment carefully and systematically.
3. Job aids must be maintained and revised when needed.
4. It is important to be aware of the 3 contexts for job aids.
5. Formats should match the context and work environment.
6. Developers should seek out and use the job aids that develop naturally within the organization.
7. Job aids should be tested before they are implemented in the organization.
8. They should be evaluated for their impact on the individual, unit, and organizational goals.
9. Job aids should be promoted within the organization as legitimate and valued performance tools.
10. Technology presents new opportunities for both development and delivery of job aids.
"Job aids become invisible, even to the training professional who produced them as soon as the next project appears.
It is important to reverse this trend by gathering data on cost and benefits and by making comparisons to other solutions."