Table of Contents

Training without a Trainer – Designing Fool-proof Job Aids

When someone can learn how to do something without having to complete a training course, it saves them time. It saves you time. Everyone is happy. Unless it’s done poorly. Then it’s just frustrating. Unless, of course, you design fool-proof job aids.

Last week I wrote about how our IT guy devised a way to reduce the amount of “help” calls and emails he received simply by putting two photos on the LCD projector in our conference room. It turns out, this idea was actually the brainchild of our office manager, not our IT guy – this goes to show that learning can come from anyone and happen anywhere. It goes back to the idea that 70% of learning doesn’t happen through a training course or an elearning course or even through conversations with a manager or mentor… it happens on the job.

What Doesn’t a Fool-Proof Job Aid Look Like?

And this sort of “on the job training” can be all around us – at work and in life in general. This past weekend I went Christmas shopping with my 3-year-old son and when I went to pay for parking, I used this machine:

Training without a Trainer (2)

You put the ticket for parking in the slot with the arrows, and you put it in so that the metallic strip is up and on the right side. All of these instructions are very visual and easy to read.

Then I had to pay. As long as you can read English, you’ll know from the big letters at the top of the machine that this machine only takes credit cards. The visual images of the cards along the right side of the machine also helps make this point.

I stuck my credit card in the slot, and the machine, after seeming to chew on it for a few seconds, spit my card out and told me it wasn’t readable. So I tried inserting it another way. More chewing, then the card was again ejected with the same message. As the line of Christmas shoppers queued up behind me, waiting less and less patiently for their turn, and as my 3-year-old kept running away from me and toward an open elevator door as I tried to figure this machine out, my embarrassment (and frustration) began to mount.

Then I looked for some sort of fine print on the machine. Perhaps you can find it too. Along the right side of the machine. Underneath where it says “Credit Card”. I realized I had to slide my card into the machine upside down.

Fool-proof Job Aids are Visual, Intuitive and Obvious

Todd Hudson, Head Maverick at the Maverick Institute, recently wrote about this with several other examples of creating everything to be visual, intuitive and obvious. Perhaps the way I should have slipped my credit card into the machine should have been obvious, since the parking ticket needed to be inserted with the metallic strip facing up. But I’m just used to sliding a credit card through a machine with the logo side up, anything else seems counter-intuitive to me.

Herein is the lesson for anyone who wants to design effective job aids: design fool-proof job aids because you never know when someone like me will come along and not be interested in reading the fine print.

Articles Similar to Training without a Trainer – Designing Fool-proof Job Aids

How to create a training plan in under 10 minutes

Using a lesson plan template (which is the most downloaded resource from this blog) can help give you structure. Using Soapbox can save you all sorts of time (and still give your presentation some structure)!

Does training actually change behavior?

Does training actually change behavior? It’s a question we should be able to answer honestly. (And the answer is: No, not 100%… and yes, but seriously, not 100%)

Hybrid Learning: When to use it

Recently I had an opportunity to talk with the folks at Mimeo about hybrid learning and when to use it. In today’s post, I share a link to that podcast, which is one in a series of podcasts they did with industry leaders on hybrid learning strategies.

L&D Lessons Learned from Being a Parent (Part 5 of 5)

Once we get into a comfortable routine, how easy is it to want to try something new? Erin Clarke shares a few ah-ha’s about what she discovered and how she became better when she decided to leave her comfort zone and try something new.

Subscribe to Get Updates from Endurance Learning

Brian Washburn, Author

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll send you the latest updates from our blog. Thanks for following!

Grow your L&D Career Today!

The Foundations of L&D course through the L&D Pro Academy provides the concepts and practical experience you need to grow your confidence and abilities as a well-rounded L&D professional.

Enter your email below and we’ll be in touch with an info sheet!

L&D Pro Academy

Find Your L&D Career Path

Explore the range of careers to understand what role might be a good fit for your L&D career.

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the What’s Possible in L&D Worksheet.

What's possible in L&D

Let's Talk Training!

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll get back to you soon.

Download the Feedback Lesson Plan

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the lesson plan as a PDF.

feedback lesson plan
MS Word Job Aid Template

Download the Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the Word version of this template.

Download the Free Lesson Plan Template!

Enter your email below and we’ll send you a Word document that you can start using today!

free lesson plan template
training materials checklist

Download the Training Materials Checklist

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the Training Materials Checklist.

Subscribe to Endurance Learning for updates

Get regular updates from the Endurance Learning team.