The days of never-ending paperwork related to business processes are long gone. Office spaces have evolved beyond the physical into digital working environments where every human activity and interaction is mediated by technology. Software applications drive most organizational operations – from clocking-in to supply-chain management. Considering the importance of such software to run business processes seamlessly, lack of software training usually ends in a frustrated workforce and low productivity.
Hence, training employees for their specific role in the relevant software application is crucial – and the best way to do it is through eLearning. Apart from the obvious reason software training is best done through computer-based training, there are also other factors which make eLearning the undisputed choice.
- Online training helps train a globally dispersed workforce in different time zones.
- It is cost-effective and enhances employee productivity.
- Though a one-time investment is needed, training reinforcement is much easier.
Here are a few tips to design an effective eLearning course for software training.
Getting Software Training Right with eLearning
- Focus on the target audience and define clear learning objectives
- Let learners discover their roles and responsibilities
- Provide a hands-on learning experience
- Break the spell of learner disengagement
- Provide just-in-time performance support
5 Smart Tips for Online Software Training
1. Focus on Target Audience and Define Clear Learning Objectives
A variety of employees with different work responsibilities use software applications for different operational needs. For example, the HR Information Management System software is used by both HR and other employees. A regular employee’s operations may be limited to clocking in or generating leave applications, but managers use it for monitoring employee status, setting targets, approving leave, sending notifications, setting completion dates, and so on.
This is why keeping the target learner in mind and framing clear learning objectives based on required performance is crucial to online software training. These performance-based learning objectives need to be ‘SMART’ – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
For example, when you’re implementing a new SAP FICO (Financial Accounting and Controlling), the performance-based learning objectives for your accounting staff may include a specific number of transactional entries to be made within a stipulated time in your online simulation.
This will equip them to replicate the same in their actual work environment. To avoid cognitive overload during training, it’s always better to fix achievable targets. Burdensome learning targets will turn off your employees’ interest in training.
2. Let Learners Discover their Roles and Responsibilities
While implementing software training in your organization, you need to develop training modules according to the roles and responsibilities of employees. You can’t develop a ‘one-size-fits-all’ single training course to train employees across a spectrum of roles. You’ll need to prepare separate eLearning modules, tailored to meet each employee function, role, and responsibility.
Even in each individual department, train employees based on their roles and usage of the software. This role-based design makes the eLearning course relevant to your employees and enhances the value of training. For example, not all employees use all the features in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Training employees on tasks that may not be relevant to them would serve no purpose, so you will need to design a role-based eLearning design for software training.
3. Provide Hands-on Learning Experience for Software Training
No matter how many manuals and guidelines employees are provided with or however scintillating the instructor-led trainings they participate in, they still need practical training to operate the software. Providing hands-on experience is crucial in software training to provide employees opportunities to practice. ‘Watch, Try, Do’ simulations help by giving a virtual experience of actually using the software.
- Watch/Show Mode: Learners watch a step by step process of software operation in a video format.
- Try Mode: Next they try to execute specific steps with the help of narration or pop-up guidelines.
- Do Mode: Finally, they execute the entire process by themselves.
4. Break the Spell of Learner Disengagement
Software training involves lengthy procedures which can be pretty boring and may end up putting learners to sleep. You can prevent that by using a game-based design which will bring in an element of fun into the training. eLearning courses based on games can also convert a complicated procedure into simplified task levels. Using gamification elements such as badges, leaderboard points, and rewards too can motivate learners.
5. Provide Just-in Time Performance Support
After employees are done with their training and go back to the job, they may still need support to be able to perform their tasks efficiently. Job-aids are a necessary part of training for they enable them to get the information they need, when they need it. Microlearning modules are best suited for providing performance support, through ‘how-to’ video nuggets or interactive flash cards.
So, go ahead and design your online training for software applications keeping these tips in mind. If you have any queries, reach us through the Comments section below.