Four-in-One!

Tips to design Role-Specific Systems Training

Picture this — you’re meeting with a business services client who wants to develop a custom-learning course to walk learners through the functionality of a time sheet system. You think to yourself, sure, we can do that! But then the client adds that this training must cover the requirements of four unique roles within a single course. One role (manager) must receive all content in the course. The other three roles (exempt, non-exempt, and hourly) need general content and content specific to each role. I think I just heard you gasp — I’ll refill my coffee as you ponder on that for a moment!

This request was challenging! And, I won’t lie, I’m certain a few extra grey hairs popped on the top of my head as we worked through the design phase. Commonly, I’d consult with the client to explore the option of developing this training as four separate e-learnings, as this would make the most logical sense. However, given the system was fairly user-friendly and easy to navigate, I agreed it made sense for this to be one course. Additionally, I didn’t feel it would have been financially justifiable to develop four role-based courses for such a straight-forward system.

But, how were we going to pull this off? We needed a design that was clean and logical, and delivered all of the necessary content to the four different roles. The design also needed to ensure the learners would walk away from the training with the ability to complete critical tasks in the time sheet system.

Here are a few tips we followed to make sure this training was a success:

  • We began the course with a “Select Your Role” page; the drop-down options featured each of the four roles.
  • We leveraged branching to the role-specific content.
  • As we navigated from general content (for all learners), to role-specific content, then back to general content, we needed to give serious thought around the transitions.
  • The branching into and out of this content needed to feel seamless to the learners.
  • Screenshots of the system also needed to be seamless. So role-specific screens always had to return to “general” screens in the workflow.
  • Practice scenarios (and/or activities) needed to be relevant for each role. Some were general, applying to all learners. Others were role-specific. We had to be mindful that we didn’t introduce confusion by displaying content to the wrong learners!
  • For the role that needed to receive all content (manager), we provided clarity around any role-specific content by beginning the scene with a role-clarifying lead-in sentence, such as “For Role A and Role B”, etc. This ensured managers were provided clarity on what content was role-specific verses what content was general for all learners.
  • As much as we could, we included best practices and lessons learned for each role.
  • Finally, we leveraged FAQ information our subject matter expert provided to give clarity throughout the training. We also were able to leverage this information as a performance support tool. Though it wasn’t “attached” to the training itself, it was added to the learning portal for quick reference in the future.

In the end, with a well-thought out design, following the tips above and carefully conducting quality checks during development that focused on each role to ensure the learning experience was seamless, we did indeed create a four-in-one!

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