Option 0 is to do nothing at all – leave it to Informal Learning. Leave it at Informal Learning. All Learning starts as Informal. All. 100%.
And it remains Informal until somebody decides to resource doing something about that. Until it is resourced – by someone – via the T&D/L&D function or the user department/group themselves – it remains Informal Learning.
Sometimes the Risks and Rewards at Stake are not worth addressing – given the Life Cycle Costs for creating anything, and then administrating it, maintaining it, etc. It’s more than just First Costs.
Option 1 is to address the need with Direct Instruction – using a Job Aid – also known as: Guidance, EPSS (Electronic Performance Support System), Quick Reference Guide, Performance Support, Workflow Learning.
A Job Aid and nothing else. Simply inform the Target Audience(s) of its existence and location and “How To Access.”
This is appropriate given 1) the Task(s) and Output(s) – and 2) their Risks and Rewards – and 3) the Prior Knowledge/Skills of the Target Audience(s).
Option 2 is to address the need with Direct Instruction – using a Job Aid embedded in Training – where the use of the Job Aid – also known as: Guidance, EPSS (Electronic Performance Support System), Quick Reference Guide, Performance Support, Workflow Learning – is taught in a Training effort – Group Paced, Self Paced or Coached.
Post Training (another form of Direct Instruction) the Target Audience(s) simply use the Job Aid to reduce the need for them to have memorized the steps/tasks of Performance.
The Training would have had the Target Audience hone whatever knowledge/skills might have been necessary within the steps/tasks of Performance – for example: making a weld, assessing an Insurance Claim, assessing the exterior condition of a passenger airline, etc.
Option 3 is to address the need with Direct Instruction – using Training alone – as the Performance might require immediate reaction, and task actions that would have needed to have been committed to memory – where the Risks and Rewards demanded immediate, accurate and complete task performance.
And unless the job itself reinforces the memorization of knowledge/skills often enough – the Training will need to be continuous, using Spaced Learning/Reinforcements – in part and/or in whole to keep the knowledge/skills “fresh” and available for recall as needed.
When It’s Worth It – From a Risk & Reward Standpoint
Have empathy for the Performers, empathy for their management, empathy for the downstream people and organizations using the Performers’ “Outputs as Inputs” to their needs, and empathy for the Enterprise – select your Instructional Response correctly.
Many Names/Labels for Essentially the Same Thing
The Job Aid – also known as: Guidance, EPSS (Electronic Performance Support System), Quick Reference Guide, Performance Support, Workflow Learning – has been around since the 1960s (Rummler & Gilbert called it Guidance).
Note: some proponents may disagree that these are all basically the same – and may have nuances that distinguish between some or all of these.
Even SOPs – Standard Operating Procedures – are a form of Guidance IMO.
And please note – SOP might mean Standing Operating Procedures (in the military). Always clarify when using new terms – and be aware that the definition may vary across your Enterprise. It happens.
If your Enterprise uses SOPs – determine whether or not you need to “package” your Guidance/Job Aids in that format – using that name/label.
And here is an interesting post offering 20 Free SOP Templates to ease your use of SOP – here.
In Any Event – Focus on Performance
Focus on the Tasks and Outputs – and not just on Topics.
A recent Blog Post of mine on this: T&D: Guidance Via Directory, Ensampler or Query – here.
And another recent Blog Post and a just-under-10-minute Video that I did on this: T&D Video: About Instructional Guidance – here – regarding what I learned from Rummler & Gilbert back in 1979 from a newsletter of theirs from 1970.
The Goal is to Enable Performance Competence
It’s not about Learning. It’s about Performance.
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