How should I design software training?

The principles would be the same as using action mapping to design any other type of training. Basically, you’ll want to:

1. Identify how you’ll measure success. How will training people on the software improve the performance of the business? A classic goal is to reduce calls to the help desk about the software.

2. Identify what people do with the software — what are the most common tasks? If necessary, group your audience members by job role or tasks.

3. Remove any barriers you can and make sure training is actually necessary. A barrier can include a clunky interface, menu options that aren’t self-explanatory, missing help files, time pressure, inefficient processes, and other challenges with the tool or work environment. The goal is to fix these rather than train around them. A classic example is creating a cheat sheet summarizing how to complete a common task. You might decide that the cheat sheet is enough and no training is required.

4. If training is necessary, design activities that help people practice completing the common tasks, with optional help always available. For an example, see how Allen Interactions handled training for medical records software.

This is one of several action mapping FAQs.