If someone were to drop you in a foreign city, put you in a car, and give you the choice between a paper map or Waze to help you navigate, which would you choose?
While some people may be up for an old school adventure (and potentially paper cuts), most prefer the option that requires the least effort and ensures high accuracy.
Waze, Google Maps, and other GPS systems give drivers confidence that they’re heading in the right direction. If they do take a wrong turn, the software uses the context of their mistake to recalculate and steer them to their destination.
It’s no different when training employees to use enterprise technology. As the modern workplace evolves, traditional methods of software training are becoming as obsolete as paper maps.
Classroom learning, manuals, and webinars are ill-equipped to address the complexity of contemporary technology.
That’s why more companies are seeking contextual learning solutions to guide software training.
Contextual learning, explained
When we talk about contextual learning, we’re talking about the ability of a digital training solution to provide user support that goes beyond personalization.
Training tools with contextual learning capabilities have algorithms that analyze context-sensitive factors, such as the actions the user is taking, their position in the company, the goals of the department, and even the time of day to provide tailored support.
This breed of software, such as a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP), uses contextual information to anticipate the user’s needs and provide on-screen guidance in real time.
Rule: Your training tool should be as intelligent as the software you’re using
Contextual learning is emerging as a preferred mode of training employees on enterprise software because of its ability to offer guidance in the moment.
GPS apps alert you when you’re approaching a congested road or accident. Similarly, training solutions that enable contextual learning proactively send assistance to safeguard productivity while employees learn to perform new tasks on the platform.
What’s challenging employee training?
The need for new employee training solutions has emerged due to a few factors.
The pursuit of digital maturity, innovation, and the proliferation of cloud technology has led many companies to adopt new digital tools. As a result, employee workflow has changed in profound ways.
Irrespective of industry or job titles, most employees are required to use multiple software platforms on a regular basis. But high-level features, complex interface, and automatic updates from the cloud make it difficult to use these platforms optimally.
Training means time and money
In 2017, the U.S. spent $90.6 billion on employee training expenditures, up 32.5% from 2016, according to Training Magazine’s 2017 Training Industry Report. Average training costs for large companies totalled $17 million in 2017. Mid-sized companies spent an average of $1.5 million, and small companies spent $1 million.
Companies also provided more hours of employee training in 2017, according to the report. Employees received an average of 47.6 hours, about 4 more years than 2016.
Enterprise software is no small investment. That’s why employee training is so important — achieving positive ROI will be impossible if your employees don’t know how to use the platform.
Or worse — it becomes shelfware.
Training and the employee experience
The importance of effective training extends beyond dollars and hours. It also has an outsized effect on the employee experience.
The need to gain proficiency on a new platform and stay abreast of updates can lead to employee overwhelm and frustration. But with contextual learning, guidance is always a mouse click away.
The future of work requires a new approach to training
As companies look forward to integrating artificial intelligence and other promising digital tools into their employees’ workflows, the need for more effective software training solutions rises.
Solutions that support contextual learning will produce the biggest returns for companies that are investing in new technology.
The future workplace is a digital workplace. Make sure your employees have all of the support they need to use digital tools effectively.
Tamara’s unique perspective on the impact of digital trends on business strategy has elevated her voice to the leading edge of the digital transformation discussion. She is adept at untangling the complexities of organizational culture, its evolution, challenges, and needs in the digital era. Previously, Tamara served as managing editor for the leading national healthcare publication Becker’s Hospital Review.