A product is just a tool someone uses to do a job. Good training teaches the job, not just the tool.
The most common mistake made by instructional designers and technical writers is to believe their job is to capture and present all existing information (content) about a subject.
This kind of "content-based" approach usually leads to training that tells everything about a product except actually how to use it.
When information is presented in an unsystematic way, the learner finds it hard to see how it relates to the work they will have to do in the real world. Learning a job through content-based training is like trying to learn how to drive a car by reading the manual or in the worst courses, just the parts list!
A machine or a software product is only a tool someone uses to do a job. Performance-based training teaches the job - not the tool.
If it doesn't serve job performance, it doesn't belong in the training.
Poor training carries a huge cost - and a huge risk.
Large corporations are beginning to realize that cutting corners on training can be very costly. As a recent Toronto Globe & Mail article pointed out, software fails because:
"In 90 per cent of the cases, it's because the implementer did a bad job, training was bad, the whole project was poorly done," said Joshua Greenbaum, principal analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting in Berkeley. "At which point, you have a real garbage in, garbage out problem."
"As governments, businesses and other organizations become more reliant on technology, the consequences of software failures are rarely trivial. Entire businesses — and even lives — are at stake."
Documen Information Design
Building performance-based, custom training solutions.
To learn more about the factors that affect performance, see our new section: Factors Affecting Performance.
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Documen is a partner in the instructional design firm North Pacific Training and Performance, and has a working partnership with the multimedia and technology-based training firm Streamline Learning Solutions.