This article was written by John Brewder, Regional Manager Me Learning.

Technology touches virtually every aspect of the work local authorities and their partners do. It improves efficiency, taking care of many mundane and routine tasks freeing up the valuable time of council officers and it is integral to data capture so sound decisions are made.

But the more councils rely on different technology systems, the more pressure this puts on those using them. Many council officers already find the number of different systems they are expected to use is in double figures and each has their own nuances to learn.

This boom in technology is leading to confusion, especially when you build in the need to stay on top of system updates and get new starters and temporary staff up to speed post the implementation period. All this effort is sapping time and creating ‘tech stress’, when councils are desperate to retain experienced talent and drive down sickness rates.

The good news is that training technology is available which makes software training so much easier to develop and deploy nowadays. We just need to shift the mindset, so the concept is embraced more widely by councils, system providers and consultants working with councils and their partners. I can give you lots of examples of how bespoke e-learning for systems training, supported by a range of other technology-led training interventions, can cut learning time, the overall project timeline and project risks. This is because the technology takes care of the heavy lifting by tailoring the training to the needs of users, so they learn what they need to learn for their particular role and in a way which suits them, including their learning style and pace of learning.

Before I talk more about the art of the possible, let’s dispel a handful of myths…

Most people don’t find a new system intuitive even when a system developer has worked extra hard to make it so. This isn’t a failing on the part of the system itself but rather that in the real world most people are juggling lots of technology and so easily get confused.

Classrooms (virtual and in person) are rarely the best way to learn system functionality. Research shows that the best approach is e-learning which mimics the look and feel of the system itself. The real value comes when you use other learning interventions alongside e-learning, for example to provide an opportunity for discussion on the context of how to apply the technology in a local situation.

One-size training rarely fits all – training technology makes it easier for you to tailor training for different roles and in response to different learning styles and levels of competency.

It is rare for large organisations such as councils to go for an off-the-shelf technology system without bespoke configuration. So, your training should be tailored accordingly, rather than relying on off-the-shelf packages.

And last but by no means least, lots of learning actually happens beyond the system implementation go-live. Good quality e-learning provides a ready made refresher or induction package which can be accessed any time.

At Me Learning we have worked extensively on training packages for councils, police, health and other public sector services, as well as system providers and consultants working with these organisations. We know from our experience that high quality e-learning on the basics of a system can cut learning time by half for an organisation, which when added up across a large workforce group equates to thousands of learning hours saved. More importantly, this approach provides the time and funding to properly prepare employees, so they are both competent and confident in the functionality they use in their role.

E-learning can be combined with other learning interventions. These can include virtual or classroom training, virtual floor walking and/or the development of in-app guidance for cloud-based software, allowing users to learn as they explore. The key is the get the right ingredients in the right quantity for each client organisation and to fully utlise the capability of the training technology to create a tailored training package which suits individuals and groups of users.

So, whether you are a council, a system provider or a consultant working on a system implementation or wider change programme, ask yourself whether allowance has been made to properly prepare the people using the system involved. If you are fully utilising the power of training technology to do this, I can guarantee you will be minimising project risks, stretching the training budget further and impacting your overall timeline by reducing the time it takes to properly prepare a large workforce group.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further then please do not hesitate to contact John Brewder, Regional Manager at Me Learning – You can also contact us at / 01273 091 301.

This article was originally published on techUK’s site.

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