The Job Aid Alternative
I was taking an instructional design course in the spring when the professor unexpectedly asked whether I thought instruction or a job aid was a better choice for the instructional goal I had identified. That question really surprised me at the time because like most new instructional design students, I thought that every learning need had to be addressed through instruction in some form. Plus, I had never really thought about a job aid or how one could be used instead of instruction in some circumstances.
Business Dictionary defines job aids as “devices or tools (such as instruction cards, memory joggers, wall charts) that allows an individual to quickly access the information he or she needs to perform a task”. Wiktionary defines a job aid as a “sign, worksheet or checklist designed to reduce avoidable mistakes in the workplace by helping a person remember what to do”. Both of these definitions are really helpful in defining the general use of job aids.
The infographic below from Market Business News includes a list of job aids and how they are used:
I don’t think the question of when to use a job aid or instruction is an easy one to answer. If you think of any skill that you want to teach an employee, you’re always thinking about not only the best way to teach the skill but also the best way to ensure he or she remembers how to perform the skill. That may be through instruction, brief instruction followed by a job aid, or just providing a job aid and asking the employee to learn the task on his or her own.
Nowadays, many employees locate and find their own instruction and job aids through instructional videos and job aids available on the internet.
eLearning Industry’s article 10 Must-Have Online Training Job Aids For Your Customer Service Staff provides examples of online job aids.
What job aids have you used on your job? Did you combine instruction with the use of a job aid? Were you given the job aids or did you locate the job aids on your own?