5 types of job aids to keep the learning alive post-event (+ free templates)

5 job aids to keep the learning alive

Job aids are one of the most underrated tools there are when it comes to learning. There is a lot of focus on the ‘event’ but less so on keeping the learning alive afterwards.

There are two reasons that cause the lack of job aids;

  1. There is too much focus placed on the ‘learning’
  2. Stakeholders don’t always understand that learning doesn’t stick as a one off, so they don’t give it much attention.

It’s up to us as learning professionals to share with them ideas or suggestions for great post-learning job aids to keep that learning alive.

What are job aids?

Job aids are tools that can help learners use the new skills or knowledge from the learning intervention. It could be to help them use new skills, adapt to new workplace behaviours or simply to remember a process or procedure post-learning.

Why use job aids?

Two key reasons, job aids help to keep the learning alive post-event and they aid learning retention. Learning retention means you get the maximum impact on a learning intervention and learners feel supported to use the skills, knowledge or behaviours. Win-win!

Types of job aids:

1. Checklists

Checklists are a great way to remind learners about the key elements of a process that need completing. They’re a methodical memory aid that takes the pressure off the learner. When using checklists post-learning highlight the main parts of the process. If you want to be fancy then you can turn the checklist into an interactive PDF so the learners can psychically tick items off as they go.

Suggestions of when to use:

  1. Learning that follows a sequential process or procedure but you want to highlight the key elements i.e. key decision points or actions to take.
  2. Use it for:
    1. A list of resources the learner needs to remember i.e. all the tools to build a specific item
    1. Key steps in a process i.e. a sales call

2. Job aids such as how to guides or standard operating procedures

How to guides or standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a great way to support learners follow a specific process in greater detail. These guides go into more detail than you would find in a checklist but provide a great reference point for learners moving forward.

The aim is that anyone should be able to pick them up and follow the process in detail. Those instructional booklets Ikea provide with flatpack furniture are a great example of this.

When creating these sorts of guides make sure to include the resources required in the process too i.e. tools or equipment.

Suggestions of when to use:

  1. For learning that has a very clear process to be followed and is standardised i.e. how to complete a task within an IT system, or how to follow a specific process.
  2. Use it for:
    1. Clear instructional guidance on any process or procedure.

3. Drip feed tips or content

Another job aid option is to signpost learners to other content that already exists, otherwise known as curating content. Content curation is a great way to keep the learning alive, without the onus on you to provide the content.  

My recommendation here is rather than providing the learners with everything they need as soon as the learning ends, drip feed the content over a period. This helps to counteract the forgetting curve, and keep learners thinking about their new skills, knowledge or behaviours.

The other great way to drip feed is to drip feed top tips I.e.’ did you know….’ Type emails that shows them a specific tip or technique that aligns with the learning, again this could be curated, or created.

Types of curated content:

  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • News
  • Social Media Posts
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

Suggestions of when to use:

Drip feeding curated or created content works for any type of learning event, it’s a fantastic way to keep learning alive and I’d recommend giving it a try!

4. Videos or podcasts

Another way to keep the learning alive is through instructional videos. This could be a simple screen recording of how to use a system, where to find information etc. Or it could be a staged video of a scenario i.e. someone making a great sales pitch to a client that learners can refer to.

The other option is podcasts, again you can create or curate. There are SO many podcasts out there I’d be amazed if someone isn’t already talking about the topics covered in your learning intervention. If not, you can always create your own by recording a discussion with an internal subject matter expert.

Suggestions of when to use:

Videos and podcasts are so versatile you can use them for pretty much any topic. So, get creative or if you’re curating, get searching for the specialists in the topic.

5. Flowcharts

The final job aid recommendation is flow charts. I love a flow chart as they provide a simple, visual guide of a process. They don’t take a lot of time to create but they do provide a lot of value. There is software out there such as Visio, draw.io that can help you create professional looking flowcharts, or if this isn’t in your budget then all the tools you need are also available within PowerPoint. I’ve used both.

Suggestions of when to use:

For processes that are fairly linear. If the process is overly complicated, I’d suggest using a how to guide or standard operating procedure rather than a flow chart. A very busy, complicated flow chart may scare off learners rather than support them!

Summary

Those are my top 5 job aid suggestions, if you haven’t already, follow this link to download the free templates to help you keep your own learning alive post this blog post!

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