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Monday, July 10, 2006

Thinking Outside the Training Box

Great post by Dave Lee - The Learning Circuits Blog: We're #3! We're #3! - that really should have been titled something along the lines of - looking at Customer Service and IT Help Desk for inspiration in training. When you look at Dave's list of things that these two organizations do, you begin to see solutions that don't look like training and instead look like help (with maybe a little training embedded when appropriate). This is the kind of solution we've been using in Reference Hybrids. And it also points us to solution elements as part of our blend that have included:
  • Collect Questions - During any use of Online Reference or eLearning, make it easy to collect questions that can be submitted in a batch (learning mode) or immediately.
  • Office hours - After the launch of the training, hold regularly scheduled virtual meetings to discuss questions or issues that have come up. Also, ask for input on any tips that people have for each other. This will fizzle out after a while, but as new things roll-out, it becomes important again.
  • Web Site - Use Wiki software or similarly easy to use tool to keep an up-to-date site where you minimally have pointers to your reference materials and training materials, FAQs, list of expert practitioners, and dates/times of office hours.
  • Update your FAQs - After each office hour, quickly make modifications to the Wiki. Ideally, you solicit expert practitioners to make updates to the web site including the FAQ.
Dave also points to metrics that are available in both of these contexts. We also have seen metrics get used in some domains that are quite effective, e.g., customer satisfaction surveys. But, it is certainly the exception that we have these kinds of metrics available to us.

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