WHY IS End User Training IMPORTANT?
End User Training is your chance to validate your sponsor’s decision to purchase by demonstrating the power of your platform to his or her team. It is an extremely valuable relationship-building exercise when you are able to do this within their live environment. The best End User Training is built around a well-planned learning design that is persuasive, capitalizes on real and relevant scenarios, and includes reinforcement.
WHO NEEDS TO KNOW HOW TO DO End User Training?
End User Training is typically conducted by Customer Success teams who are charged with implementation. The training modules and methodology should be vetted through the Product team and the Marketing team so that strong content and best practices are incorporated.
PUTTING End User Training IN CONTEXT
End User Training happens after Core Enablement. It’s an exciting time for admins (and sponsors) to show off the fruits of their work to their team. Built off Core Enablement, End User Training should be conducted in the customer’s live environment and may begin with the Rapid Prototype.
GUIDELINES FOR End User Training
End User Training should be designed to facilitate learning and encourage independent ongoing adoption. Training of this sort must be relevant and persuasive. If your training doesn’t inspire adoption and won’t lead users to correlate their success to your solution, then you should reconsider your approach.
With relevance and persuasiveness as guiding principles, consider these 5 guidelines when designing your own End User Training approach:
- Create infectious enthusiasm and confidence
- Incorporate highly relevant and realistic scenarios
- Conduct training in a live environment
- Train teams, not individuals
- Focus on business processes rather than technical features
- Establish a plan for ongoing reinforcement and continuous learning
- Encourage Independence
Create infectious enthusiasm and confidence
Lean in. Don’t be passive in your instruction. Enthusiasm and confidence are infectious and motivational, so bring it. If you come to the training with a lackluster or dispassionate attitude, your users will feel similarly disinterested. Modeling an attitude of extreme interest and complete trust in the value of your solution is contagious and cannot be understated.
Incorporate highly relevant and realistic scenarios
When designing your learning program for your solution, identify the most frequent, important and difficult tasks users will need to perform, and build realistic scenarios around those activities. Since most adult learners really are most interested in knowing how this solution is going to help them personally, choosing the most relevant scenarios around which to train is extremely important. This will establish early and high value to your users and keep them engaged for continued training.
Conduct training in a live environment
While there is room for sandboxes to learn terminology and key features, the bulk of End User Training should take place in a live environment. Sandboxes with fictitious data can also be used to show examples of good and bad data and configuration. Once you have established a baseline of knowledge about the nomenclature and structure of the solution, go live and use your customers’ data. Even when bad data arises during live scenarios, there are opportunities for learning which will facilitate independence in troubleshooting data problems down the road.
Train teams, not individuals
End User Training should be provided for a team of users at one time. Not only is this the most efficient way to conduct training, but it also creates opportunities for collaborative learning among the team. Hopefully, a few users become pros quickly and can become advocates and in-house resources moving forward.
Focus on business processes rather than technical features
There’s a tendency around product experts to want to show off the coolest features within their platform. Unless those features are directly responsible for solving the most critical problems users have, don’t focus on (or lead with) features. Even if users find the features interesting, they will only distract them from adopting best practices in using your tool. Focus on the users’ most important needs, and let the features reveal themselves, and you will win over more users than if you strut your fancy features, and forget to fix a real problem they want you to solve.
Establish a plan for ongoing reinforcement and continuous learning
Studies on the “forgetting curve” maintain that learners will forget anywhere from 30 – 90% of what they learn within 30 days of learning it. Take responsibility for designing a learning map that reinforces the most important parts of your solution so that the 30% they remember is the most important stuff. End User Training should be agile and iterative. Design modules that reinforce and then build upon learning, and then establish independent ways to continue more advanced adoption.
No training is comprehensive – nor should it be. Your goal with End User Training is NOT to be the only learning resource your users have. Users should rely upon their administrators and each other. Your training should set up administrators to become in-house experts, as best as possible. As a second tier of resources, admins and users who have strong mastery should be able to point other users to resources to answer their questions as they advance along the learning curve.
WHAT DO WE LEARN THROUGH End User Training?
Through well-designed training that facilitates learning and adoption, you begin to learn more about your customers’ goals. By generating enthusiasm to address real-life and immediately relevant scenarios, you position your solution as viable and reliable. As users grow in confidence, they begin to see greater possibilities for using your solution for additional problem solving, and the cycle goes on from there.
Check out Bottom Line Performance’s Learning Equation. It offers a vivid recipe for designing learning opportunities that are most effective.
Read more about the Blocking and Tackling of Customer Success .