Teach People to Use Any New Software

What are the effective ways (or best ways) to teach people a new software? But first of all, why do you have to teach people? Can’t they simply learn by doing it? The answer is: They often can’t.

There are many ways to teach or train someone to use a new piece of tool or software, and they can be summarized into user onboarding best practices.

In short, firstly start briefly with the WHY: Just demonstrate the context for the change, which will help address resistance to change.

Secondly, give a broad overview of the entire navigation and process flow. Just keep this part all the way with the high level context for now. It’s okay the real stuffs will come later.

Let’s get to the real training part.

Illustrate what people need to do most often in this specific software.

Watch out for trying to deliver too much in the training. One thing is most software training goes off the tracks, because somehow a training very soon starts trying to cover everything, such as what if this happens, and what if that happens. Actually you must pretend the perfect scenario for most of the time. Teach the most important and the most commonly happened scenario, and the rest will all come together later, or you can always supplement later. So in short, make sure you apply the 80/20 rule.

When appropriate, segment the people if there must be very distinct roles or functions when people are to operate the software. There is no need to waste someone’s time by sitting through an entire training session where eventually they won’t be using the software in such a specific way.

During the training, give your users a chance to practice what they have learned. You can design a simulated example for them to work with.

Make a plan to provide ongoing support for this software – This is very important. You don’t want to just develop and implement a software, and just let people use it in whatever way they want – They won’t know what to do with it in many cases. And with most software, you may still roll up new updates, and these new updates need to be properly communicated to your users. The ongoing support will be well complemented by an official reference material, such as a user guide, help guide, etc.

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