When you’re dealing with an entirely new way of working, how do you efficiently and effectively organize a training program so it doesn’t cause enormous downtime?
That’s the challenge facing many organizations as they implement a modern PLM system. After all, training can be time-consuming and distract from day-to-day tasks. And that’s a tremendous concern for engineering leaders and PLM program managers.
The drawbacks of feature-based training. The problem lies with training focused on software features. When a training program emphasizes features, users are learning about the software in a vacuum, with no context for using the tools in a way that ties back to business practices and goals.
It’s routine for companies to organize their training based on the tools they need their users to learn, teaching them about menus, buttons, and other aspects of the software. As a result, many users are not immediately productive after training because they need to figure out how to apply the training to their jobs and to the business processes that impact them.
Delivering training in context. Process-based training, on the other hand, provides situational training that empowers users to immediately understand how PLM software is relevant to their tasks – and how to use it to achieve their goals.
For example, let’s say the goal is for a graphic designer to modify product documentation. The process is to capture needed changes, create and store the project, and update the documentation. Along the way, the document author and editor will be involved.
By dissecting the process in this way, the training leader can determine which aspects of the software are relevant to the users, and can focus the training on using the software to modify documentation.
The users won’t necessarily know that they’re using different software tools or different aspects of the software throughout the process. That’s the beauty of process-based training – it allows users to focus on the task at hand rather than the software being used to accomplish the task. This provides users with more motivation to invest in the training. Just as important, they can be more productive as soon as they have completed their training.
The first step to delivering this type of training is to understand the business goals. The next step is analyzing and documenting relevant business processes and determining how the new software supports those processes.
Next, the organization needs to align the documented processes with user roles and subdivide these into appropriate training. The final step is to develop the required course content, keeping the following in mind:
- Every training topic needs a clear statement of purpose – what are we doing and why?
- Supporting points need to be clearly stated and identifiable.
- Whenever possible, topics should include graphics that support the main point to make it more memorable for visual learners.
By focusing the training program on a process flow sub-divided by roles, organizations help users quickly grasp the relevance of the training. The training zeroes in on helping users use the software to accomplish their daily business practices, activities, and tasks.
Any time an organization introduces a new software tool, processes can and likely will change somewhat. But by framing training in the context of business processes rather than focusing on software features, companies can dramatically reduce the learning curve for their users and minimize the productivity dip.