4 Powerful Ways to Boost Learning in the Workflow
We are curious creatures by nature and demand instant responses to our quest for information — our automatic reaction is to search the web or ask somebody else for immediate answers. The internet and the plethora of instant communication tools have equipped us with access to expertise and answers on-demand… so what does that mean for workflow learning?
Micro-moments, a term first coined by Google, is explained as “intent-rich moments when a person turns to a device to act on a need”. On a daily basis, an average person will turn to their mobile device at some point because they:
Google positions these moments as part of the consumer’s buying journey. However, let’s see how they relate to an employee’s daily journey and how we can capitalise on these same micro-moments in the workflow.
It is important to realise that these micro-moments are already ingrained in our learners’ behaviour. Multitudes of these micro-moments occur while using a smartphone. Research shows that people are using them more frequently to find information and problem-solve in that instant of need. When applied to training purposes in the workplace, we need to focus predominantly on the ‘want-to-know’ and ‘want-to-do’ moments learners have throughout each day. If we understand these behaviours better and offer quickly accessible value content enabling employees to learn across these micro-moments, the impact of workflow learning will increase exponentially.
Delivering content in the time of need
So how exactly do we cater for these micro-moments in the workflow? The obvious solution must be microlearning, delivered through various technologies to your employees. Your workforce is the same set of consumers that Google is spending great amounts of effort to understand. These micro-moments are when they make decisions and seek out information.
Modern learners learn non-linearly and actively, on the go, in short bursts when they have time, and across a variety of devices. If our core microlearning focus is on the ‘want-to-know’ and ‘want-to-do’ behaviours, how do we equip our learners with relevant content and tools in the workflow?
1: Interactive Guidance Solutions or Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS)
These tools are highly effective solutions to the obstacles in the way of the adoption of various digital systems and platforms within your organisation. They help learners navigate and understand the processes with ease.
Interactive guidance solutions add a seamless overlay to your website and can include real-voice, on-page annotations and rich graphics tailored to any browser on any device. They streamline the onboarding and training processes with step-by-step walkthroughs that guide employees along specific paths. The benefits of this on-screen solution mean that the guides appear directly within the application itself. Learners do not need to leave the platform to look elsewhere for instructions. Everything happens within the actual working environment. The interactivity of these solution allows learners to interact with the application directly and continue with their tasks in real time.
2: Social Collaboration Tools
Collaborative learning allows learners to interact socially with their peers, fellow colleagues and various subject matter experts across the business, in order to expand their subject knowledge or skills. This allows learning experiences from the ideas, skill sets and experience of others.
In workplace environments, this is achieved typically through live chats, message boards or instant messaging. The many collaboration & communication tools available — such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Workplace — allow employees to ask questions and receive answers at their point of need. They also discourage passive learning where some employees are too intimidated to ask questions during meetings or in front of their peers. These virtual channels encourage those same employees to ask active questions and receive immediate answers.
3: Microlearning Assets
Most of us are familiar with the concept of microlearning and its many different formats (podcasts, pdfs, videos, mobile-learning simulations, infographics, etc), but we cannot emphasise enough that these assets must meet two critical criteria:
- They must be useful.
- They must be quick.
When your learners are searching for information, they want it NOW, without waiting for long periods to access or download it. Think about how you can eliminate the number of steps the learner must take to access the content, and how to optimise the loading time. Secondly, anticipate your learners’ needs by creating quick access categories such as ‘Recently viewed’ or ‘Favourites’.
4: Wearable AR
The use of wearable AR, such as smart glasses, is proving to be a great success for on-the-job training. A 2018 study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute indicates that about 2,4 million positions may go unfilled between 2018 and 2028 as a result of the skills gap in manufacturing. With wearable AR, trainees can practise as soon as possible without spending too much time sitting in a classroom learning theoretical components. Although the hardware is not yet fully consumer ready, the businesses that have adopted smart glasses are already seeing tangible benefits and ROI. The benefits extend from enhanced workflow processes in the form of remote guidance to step-by-step instructions and improved training sessions.
Smart glasses allow the learner and subject matter experts or managers to communicate more effectively, empowering learners with the knowledge and skills to diagnose and resolve any physical, technical or mechanical problem. Images and live, video streaming capabilities allow employees to receive real-time, expert support on-site, without the expert needing to be on the same continent. In addition, field workers can be given precise and easy-to-follow guided instructions via smart glasses, equipping them with all the required, up-to-date information needed to make logical decisions.
*We have omitted ‘chatbots’ as the fifth option for now, as we will focus on this in-depth in a future article.
In conclusion, when learning strategies are focused on improving day-to-day activities within the work environment, it becomes integral to the way the organisation learns and performs. Curating the right approach to human-centric tools and digital resources means that performance and knowledge gaps can be plugged in no time at all, and your employees’ frustration can be kept to a minimum, allowing them to perform with confidence.
Author: Kate Atkinson