When training it’s all in the when and how…
Achieving technology adoption is no easy feat, and unfortunately, many organisations fall victim to technology forgotten. This can be for many reasons – be it poor communication, engagement, leadership or training. And sadly, new technology can get deployed without any of this stuff, so it’s no wonder the technology is forgotten as it was never known!
Drilling down into one of the contributing factors to technology adoption – which is training – there are a few tips to remember, to ensure success. And, it’s all in the when and how.
Tip 1: That which is used develops. That which is not used wastes away (Hippocrates)
How many times have you gone back to work after your holiday – or even the weekend(!) – and momentarily forgotten your password, or a process for something that you’ve done repetitively, umpteen times before? With volumes of information readily available to us, it’s too easy to temporarily forget something that’s been lodged in our long-term memory for many years. So, it’s no surprise that newly learned information is easily forgotten…
That’s why when you’re rolling out new technology it’s best not to train employees on it far in advance, or they’ll have forgotten what they’ve been taught by the time the technology is ready for use. This is something we had to advise a client on who was planning on training users prior to a three-week break over the Christmas period.
The adage ‘use it or lose it’ doesn’t exist for no reason; we have a limited knowledge retention curve. Did you know after 24 hours of learning something you’ll have forgotten 70-80% of it? It’s known as the Ebbinghaus Effect – named after Hermann Ebbinghaus, a psychologist whose research discovered this fact. Top tip: Don’t peak too soon! Train users on the technology as it becomes available to them, so they can go away, and immediately use and adopt it.
Tip 2: The silicon chip inside our head gets switched to overload… (Boomtown Rats)
We’re not saying don’t train on a Monday because no-one likes Mondays! Rather, avoid training when everyone is in ‘overload’ mode – that means on the busiest day of your organisation’s or a team’s week, when it’s end of year or your busy time. People won’t have the time or the headspace for training. Plus, new technology slows people down for a short period whilst they get up to speed, so they’re not going to thank you if you actively slow them down during a busy time. And, they’ll associate all this negativity with the technology and they’ll not want to adopt it.
Choose to deploy the technology and run training on it during a quiet period for optimal outcomes. Users will be more relaxed, accommodating and willing to learn, and will have extra room in their memory bank to let in new information. They’ll have the availability to attend training and you’ll have more of their attention, as they won’t be distracted by the work they should be doing. Top tip: Deploy new technology and train users out of peak season, so they’re not distracted by their daily work-life.
Tip 3: Good game, good game…didn’t they do well? (Bruce Forsyth)
Remember Kim’s Game from your childhood, or watching the infamous ‘conveyor belt’ game at the end of The Generation Game on a Saturday night? Both these games were a fun way to learn, remember and test your memory! In both instances you observe and remember stuff in bite size chunks; and, in Kim’s Game you write down what you learn, and in the Generation Game you explain what you’ve seen. Making learning a game adds the fun factor and you will retain knowledge when it’s presented to you in an interesting and engaging way. Top tip: Shake up your training programme by feeding users small chunks of information, make them write not type to improve their brain’s muscle memory, and hold memorable quizzes so they don’t forget what they’ve been taught.
Tip 4: Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once… (Michelle Dubois, ‘Allo ‘Allo).
This is something you should never say when training people on new technology! The most effective way to get people to learn and remember is to train in short bursts, mix it up and most importantly, repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s called spaced learning.
We also find blended-learning is incredibly effective when training users on new technology. This means taking the 10%-20%-70% approach: do 10% through face-to-face, virtual delivery, broadcast and workshops; 20% through guides, surgeries, coaching and desk-side support; and 70% through change champions, team working and in-application help. Read: Tips to help your employees learn.
Also have a single point of reference – an area on the intranet where users can go and find more information, so they can keep reading and learning, and reading and learning… Top tip: ‘If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…’ This is a good saying as you want users to learn and adopt new technology. Keep telling them the same thing and the message will eventually stick.
Finally, why is every tip a famous quote or line from a song? Because we want each tip to be memorable! Give your technology adoption programme a catchy name or slogan, so you don’t fall victim to the ‘blah’ and get forgotten. Read Bland versus Brand.