This series explores the six decisions to make when planning software training from the August 2016 article in TD magazine, “all systems go”.
The fourth decision is “how will you incorporate practice and reinforcement activities?”
The authors of the article give three approaches: “show me”, “try me”, and “test me”. The customer-facing online training I’ve developed thus far usually only includes the first approach of simply showing the procedure. But consider how providing more engaging learning activities can reinforce learning so that customers get the most out of your software or decrease the load on your help desk or support team.
Practice and reinforcement activities don’t need to be included for every procedure, but can be worth the extra development time and cost for high-impact procedures if you really want to change your customers' behavior.
The fifth and sixth decisions both relate to practice assessments and may not apply as much to customer-focused online software training. The fifth decision is “how much instruction do you provide before a practice or assessment? The sixth decision is “how much help do you provide in the feedback?” Again, if you aren’t providing practice activities or assessments, these decisions aren’t relevant. However, consider the possibilities that activities and assessment can be the instruction, and are much more engaging than an explanation.
And engagement is key to learning and changing your customer’s behavior so that they can get the most out of your product.