Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2008 - (Page 15)

LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES | RICK J. CROWLEY THERE CAN BE SIGNIFICANT COSTS FROM DEPLOYING TECHNOLOGIES THAT DON’T SOLVE BUSINESS PROBLEMS AND CAUSE CONFUSION FOR THE LEARNER THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF THE LEARNER’S USER EXPERIENCE T here are many challenges for learning leaders who are working hard to deliver great value through learning technologies, but the learner’s user experience could be viewed as “the Holy Grail.” Many have invested time and effort to create the perfect user experience, but very few have actually struck the balance between the investment and delivering an experience that provides easy access to the content. Let’s explore the seven sins for designing and implementing an intuitive, user-friendly interface: 1. Lack of or No User Experience Competency: Everyone has an opinion on how the learning applications should work and many consider themselves experts since they are experienced Web users. However, people use kitchens and bathrooms daily but that does not make them experts in architecture or remodeling. Your own experiences may differ from the needs of mass audiences. 2. Pushing Technologies Without Knowing the Business Problem: Not all technologies are great investments for solving learning problems. In fact, there can be significant costs from deploying technologies that don’t solve business problems and cause confusion for the learner. Wikis are a good example: If not well-regulated, online documents that allow any or many to feed them could propagate bad information. 3. Deploying Technologies Without Standardizing Process: Deploying technology (for the sake of technology) without knowing what business problem is being addressed is one thing. But even if the technology makes sense, deploying it without defining a standard process is a mistake. 4. Leveraging Search as the Primary Way to Find Learning: There are countless methodologies for searches, but when all is added up, they fall short in helping learners answer questions. It is time to start putting more governance on the content and index it in such a way as to yield better answers. The systems are smart enough as long as the company manages a process that leads to one answer. Leveraging the way learning maps work can also help. 5. Spending Significant Budget on User Experiences for Learning: Why do people consistently spend money to personal- ize when they have no governance in place to define or target users by roles or needs? Why do people build learning management systems with multiple navigation bars and graphic images and all the other user-experience items that create white noise and cause confusion? Arguably the learning function’s money should be better spent on content. 6. Developing Applications that Require Training: This one happens every day in corporate life: The business wants to automate a process, IT builds an application and the application is so complex it requires training to use it. This flies in the face of good design. The learning function should help develop a process that engages all application design teams and prevents the need for training by designing intuitive process steps. Then training can really focus on the company’s core competencies to maintain competitive advantage and not churn resources through unnecessary or untimely training. 7. Focusing User Experience on Training: Finally, too many training organizations focus their experience to meet training needs. If the learning function is to solve the larger corporate learning problem, it needs to manage its technologies to support those as well. Summary The most important things a learning function can do is to build great content, define scalable and repeatable processes and provide a user experience for learners that does not get in the way of accessing the content and finding the answers to business questions. Therefore the CLO must define a strategy, make sure there are experts making the design and implementation decisions and balance the investment needed against the investment many may want to make. Rick J. Crowley is an active consultant on learning Technology and architecture. Prior to that Rick was senior director, learning systems, for NetApp University, a driving force behind Cisco's e-learning adoption and implementation and held the position of director of technology training for Oracle. Email Rick at 15 Training Industry Quarterly, Fall 2008 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2008

Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2008
At the Editor's Desk
Ezine Email
Winning Organizations Through People
Before You Buy...
Learning Technologies
Informal Learning: Embracing Web 2.0
Leveraging Cutting-Edge Technologies for Learning
Reshaping the Learning Function to Think and Act Globally
The Importance and Growth of Customer Training
Meet Josh Blair
Meet Bob Dean
Meet Mark Myette
Training America's High-Flying Heroes
Closing Arguments

Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2008