It’s easy these days to feel overwhelmed by the number of software products that we use. In our modern workplace environment, we often don’t have a choice in what software we are required to use. Using software that we are not familiar with or have little experience in can add to the feeling of being overwhelmed. Furthermore, we can feel nervous about asking ‘how to’ questions because we may feel the perceived expectation is that we should know how to use the software.
You’re not alone!
Realistically it is difficult to know each application (software) inside out. What is important though is being able to tap into the necessary resources to help you achieve what you need to accomplish. Training plays a big part of this and can provide us with a greater level of confidence within said application.
The evolution of training
Training has come a long way in recent years; shifting away from classroom-based face to face learning and lengthy manuals to more dynamic, online based learning. The cost of sending a staff member on an offsite training cost is normally a costly exercise which is prohibitive for many businesses. Additionally, the information garnered from the training lies with the attendees and is limited in being repurposed amongst other staff members. The lengthy manual is becoming less popular primarily due to software changes occurring more frequently, the manual content soon becomes out of date and requires further revision. Our attention spans these days don’t seem to be capable of ploughing through pages and pages of text either. We want the answer now!
The blended learning approach
My approach with clients is to offer a blended approach to learning. The term ‘blended learning’ can have multiple meanings but essentially it draws on the use of face to face training combined with digital learning tools such as online help, how to guides, quizzes, videos and audio tools. Aside from helping to lower costs, the blended learning approach provides the learner with multiple options for how their learning is delivered. It’s important to recognise that we all learn differently – visually, audibly, kinaesthetically and the blended learning approach caters to various learning styles. For example, a 3-minute video on how to complete a task within an application can be a more effective way than trawling through a lengthy manual. Another example is the remote field technician, for him/her a 1 page “cheat sheet” may suit their requirements. That is the beauty of blended learning, it caters for different situations and learners.
A training programme that generates value
In the era of Return on Investment, businesses want to get value out of their training programs which is understandable. The blended learning approach caters for this by providing content to a broader group of learners and including assessments that match the set learning outcomes. This may be as simple as online quizzes right through to a more formal exam assessment. Integration into a business’s existing LMS’ (Learning Management Systems) is an important consideration and a topic of discussion when discussing training solutions. This helps provide businesses with a holistic view of their learning efforts.
The good news is that there are options available to help you navigate through your software applications. Blended learning is a flexible, adaptive learning approach that can help address your learning needs.