Here’s a flowchart that will help you identify the best solution to a performance problem, whether it’s a job aid, a workflow improvement, training, or something else. It’s based on action mapping, my streamlined approach to instructional design.
First, download the flowchart. Then consider watching the following 8-minute video, which walks you through a short discussion with a client, showing you how some quick questions can save you days of unnecessary training development.
Blurry? Click the little gear and choose HD. Not allowed to watch YouTube? Here’s the video on Vimeo.
What happens after the video?
So far, thanks to our questions, the client has identified ways to:
- Make important reference information always up to date and available at the point of need
- Make the rules for flagging easy to scan and apply at the point of need
These are permanent workflow improvements that avoid the need for training. At this point, the only training we’re going to develop is a very compact activity on identifying last names. It could probably be posted on the intranet with a link sent to everyone through email.
If we hadn’t used the flowchart and had simply obeyed our client’s request for training, we’d spend a lot more time developing something a lot less useful. We’d probably create an online course that starts with “Welcome to the course on completing TPS records.” We’d list objectives like, “At the completion of this course, you will be able to enter the correct XR code…” We’d probably “motivate” the learners by talking about the importance of completing the record properly and describing the costs of having our records rejected.
Then we’d tell people what they already know — that they have to log in to the annoying server to see the XR codes. We’d probably walk them through it “to make sure everyone knows how” and lecture them on the importance of using the updated sheet.
To “teach” the rules for flagging records, we’d probably display a chart of rules, give some examples, and then quiz the learners on whether they can remember the information that they saw five seconds ago and which they will forget by tomorrow if not later today. Finally, we’d include a little activity to help them practice identifying last names.
Within a month, we’d discover that people are still printing out the XR code sheet and failing to flag records properly.
Instead, just by asking some questions, we’ve helped the client identify permanent improvements, and we’ve freed up enough time to do a good job on the little name activity. The time that we don’t spend on creating unnecessary training becomes time we can invest on designing much higher quality activities.
What do you think? What did I miss? When the flowchart is all it can be, I’ll put it in the Elearning Blueprint, which this summer I hope to expand into more of a training blueprint.