- What is a job aid for training?
- How to create job aids for training in 7 steps
- 5 free job aid templates
- When not to use job aids for training
- Endnote: how to create powerful job aids for training
Designing effective training isn't easy. Often, formal training sessions are lengthy and, frankly, boring. This often results in information overload and distractions, leaving teams uncertain about job processes and priorities.
The solution is job aids for training. Job aids are complementary resources that support the training session, address training gaps and enhance employee job performance.
TL;DR: Job aids for training
- Job aids for training are complementary resources that support training sessions and enhance employee job performance.
- They can be worksheets, flowcharts, checklists, templates, and more.
- To create effective job aids for training, start by identifying your target audience and their needs, define the task it will support, choose a user-friendly format, create a concise and engaging aid, test it with a small group, and make revisions before distributing it to your audience.
- Get 5 free job aid templates you can use to get started.
What is a job aid for training?
Job aids for training are tools that provide employees with clear and concise instructions for completing work-related tasks efficiently and accurately.
Job aids for employees can take various forms, including:
- Step-by-step tutorials.
- Written instructions.
- Decision tables.
- Reference guides.
Job aids enhance productivity, reduce errors, streamline processes and help employees avoid forgetting crucial steps.
How to create job aids for training in 7 steps
- Define your training audience
- Gather information regarding the training
- Choose a structure
- Select the format or media
- Draft your job aid
- Test the job aid with a small group of users
- Implement your job aid
To be effective, work aids should be:
- Well-designed and easy to use.
- Relevant to the training and job.
Let's discuss the steps and our tips on creating job aids for training.
Step 1. Define your training audience
You should understand two things about the job aid for training. Who you're creating it for and what information it should have.
An effective job aid for training is tailor-made for the particular training needs of specific employees. So, are the employees entry-level, C-suite level, medium-level, etc.? Is it to support the facilitator, or are you giving it to employees after the fact?
The best kind of work aids are those that align with the employee level to ensure the training documentation contains the right information for the particular audience.
For example, while you can use technical terms for technicians, C-Suite level staff may find those terms difficult to understand.
Your goal is to ensure every individual in training benefits from the job aid—during and after training.
Step 2. Gather training info
Once you know the audience, you should know their training needs based on their job levels and requirements.
Employees can create and customize their own job aids, and your organization can also provide standardized ones for consistency and efficiency.
How will you obtain the information?
First, you'll conduct a needs analysis of employees and the job. You'll find out what the employees already know about the training topic and what they need to know for effective job performance. This includes:
- Job processes.
- Points of friction.
- Common mistakes.
- Alternative methods.
Second, you'll conduct research. Talk to a range of staff with experience about the particular job need. Understand how they complete it, the steps they use, the order of the steps, etc.
Automated process documentation tools like Scribe make it seamless to gather organizational processes from your subject matter experts. All you need to do is click "Start Capture," and Scribe will work in the background to capture any onscreen process. Scribe auto-generates a step-by-step guide in seconds, complete with annotated screenshots and text.
Understand how the perspectives of new employees differ from seasoned ones. Also, talk to less motivated employees and understand why they feel that way and how the training can improve their perspective.
Step 3. Choose the structure
How will you present the job aid for training? The proper structure depends on the training needs or task.
Here are three common categories:
1. Checklist job aids
When a job/project has many variables or tasks, you can use a checklist to list them in no particular order.
Employees can refer to the tasks that need to be done and check them off the list. Checklists are helpful for planning, organizing, and managing projects/tasks.
For example, equipment inspection often references a checklist.
2. Step-by-step job aids
When a task/project requires a particular order, the job aid may be presented as a step-by-step instruction or a flowchart. They support tasks that you perform in chronological order without multiple outcomes.
These job aids might be short lists, visual walkthroughs with illustrations or decision trees. What happens next depends on the previous step.
For example, the steps to qualify sales prospects could be a flowchart or step-by-step guide.
3. Reference guide job aids
When conducting training or working a real job, there are some tips or reminders you don't need all at once. You'll only glance or refer to them when needed. That’s why they’re called reference guides.
Quick reference guides best support finding fragmented information or relaying overlooked or forgotten content.
Reference guides include a(n):
- Training table of contents.
- List of SKU numbers.
- Storage facilities on a map.
... and more. They're only used when needed and provide immediate information/knowledge about steps, jobs or tasks.
Note that a work aid may sometimes have many categories, each with a distinct structure. You'll only know this after you've written the first draft.
Step 4. Select the format or media
How will the audience or staff access the job aid for training?
Whether it's a checklist, flowchart, reference guide, etc., you need to make it easily accessible to employees.
The common media formats are:
- Videos (sometimes animated).
- Laminated handouts.
- Sticky notes.
- Mobile app (an interactive app).
- Picture (or digital JPG).
- Interactive PDFs.
Most job aids are visual because 67 percent of people better understand concepts when communicated visually. So, use images, charts, pictures, worksheets, etc., rather than a wall of text.
If possible, embed links to relevant learning content.
You should choose a format before the draft to ensure the information fits well.
Step 5. Draft your job aid
When writing your first draft, it's important to remember to be as brief as possible, using short sentences and action verbs.
In short, use action words on the instruction, then add visuals.
- Use simple language and avoid jargon.
- Break down complex tasks into a step-by-step process with smaller, more manageable steps.
- Use visuals to illustrate key concepts and procedures.
- Provide job aid examples and templates to help users apply the information.
To make this step easier, use templates and automate your creation process with Scribe.
Scribe allows you to skip the manual work and auto-generate step-by-step job aids. Using the extension or desktop app, you can auto-capture and write how-to guides for any process. It allows you to create visual work instructions with text and screenshots—instantly.
Scribe user Jerrod Lew shares how easy it is to use Scribe to create how-to guides:
With Scribe, you can:
- Build easy-to-follow job aids based on your processes—in seconds.
- Clarify directions using step-by-step instructions and include relevant images.
- Ask the generative AI to add titles, descriptions and additional context—or use AI to generate the job aid for you.
- Add visual elements like videos, images and GIFs.
- Develop and combine multiple documents to create comprehensive, visual process documents.
- As processes change, simply click “Edit,” to update a step, change text or swap out a screenshot.
- All updates are universal, so you’ll never have to sift through 100 versions of the same document again.
- Easily share, link or embed job aids into your preferred platform.
- Leverage Scribe's collaboration features to gather feedback and ensure accuracy.
- Scribe's document insights features make it easy to see who views and completes your Scribes.
Step 6. Test the job aid with a small group of users
You need to find out how your job aid performs in real training or job situations to test its effectiveness and find areas for improvement.
How do you do this?
- Find an obliging company staff or coworker and ask them to use the job aid. It's better if you give it to three or more people.
- Observe the employees using the job aid and record. Resist the urge to guide them and just sit back and observe how they naturally use the job aid.
- Take notes about their process and identify any areas that are unclear or confusing.
- Ask them their perspective about the material and how it improves their job performance.
Once you collect enough feedback, revise and rewrite the work aid using your learned and employee perspectives.
Step 7. Implement the job aid
After revising it, make it available to employees and management where they can access it easily.
Encourage the employees to use it to support their job performance.
5 free job aid templates
1. Job aid template
This job aid template is designed to help you create a comprehensive and user-friendly guide for your employees. It includes sections on job overview, procedures, checklists, and references.
2. Step-by-step guide template
Scribe's free step-by-step job aid template is a useful tool for creating clear and concise instructions for any task or process. Create a well-structured step-by-step guide to help users quickly and easily complete tasks, increase efficiency and reduce the chance of errors.
3. Quick reference guide template
This quick reference guide template provides a comprehensive and effective tool for organizing and presenting information in a clear and concise manner. Use this template to quickly and easily create clear and concise quick reference guides.
4. Visual work instructions template
You can use Scribe's visual work instructions template to create a wide range of instructional materials, including process flow diagrams, step-by-step instructions, safety procedures, equipment operating procedures, assembly instructions, maintenance procedures and troubleshooting guides.
5. SOP manual template
An SOP manual template outlines the standard operating procedures for a specific task or process, serving as a guide for employees to follow. Our template includes sections for important information such as job descriptions, steps for completing tasks, safety protocols, and quality control measures.
When not to use job aids for training
Job aids for training have a specific need and use case. They’re not training tools but complementary documentation to support the training session and the job itself. They simplify training information and processes to help managers plan the training, and help employees retain the information.
Here are some situations when you should not use a job aid for training:
- When the task is time-critical or requires the user's full attention. Job aids can be a distraction, especially for tasks requiring the user to focus and be vigilant.
- When the task is constantly changing or there are many different variations of the task. Job aids are most effective when they support well-defined and consistent processes.
- When the task requires the user to understand the underlying concepts and principles deeply. Work aids can provide step-by-step instructions but cannot replace a thorough understanding of the task.
- When the task is critical to safety or compliance. In these cases, it is important to ensure that employees are fully trained and competent to perform the task without relying on a job aid.
What is the role of job aids in training?
Job aids improve employee performance and ease of work by helping them:
- Remember how to do things.
- Solve work problems.
- Test new workflows.
- Adopt changes and new work models.
Why use job aids for training?
A job aid for training is available on demand to support getting a job done… right when you need it. Their benefits include:
- Simplifies training: Supplements and reinforces training to improve employee performance.
- Helps employees learn and retain new information more quickly and effectively.
- Reduces training time. With job aids, employees get hands-on training and learn as they work, reducing the need for time spent on prior training.
- Helps employees perform tasks more accurately and efficiently.
- Provides quick, on-demand access to personalized job information and relevant knowledge.
- Reinforces learning. Help employees refine, review and reinforce what they learned. In turn, they become more self-sufficient and productive at work.
- Encourages ongoing education. While formal training programs have start and end dates, work aids provide a continuous learning cycle.
- Improves workplace safety and compliance.
What is the difference between a job aid and a checklist?
Job aids provide detailed guidance for performing a specific task, while checklists serve as a simple reminder.
A job aid is a tool that provides step-by-step guidance and information for performing a specific task or job.
- Job aids can take various forms such as flowcharts, diagrams, or written instructions.
- They are designed to be used as a reference during the actual performance of the task.
A checklist is a tool used to ensure that all necessary steps or items are completed or accounted for.
- It's a simple list of tasks or items that need to be checked off as they are completed.
- Checklists are often used to ensure consistency and accuracy in processes or procedures.
- They are useful in complex or high-stakes situations where mistakes can have serious consequences.
Endnote: how to create powerful job aids for training
Job aids for training are vital learning tools that enhance employee performance.
Designing job aids for training is a process almost identical to designing learning content. The steps are:
- Know your audience.
- Pick a topic.
- Gather important information.
- Choose a format.
- Develop the content and test it. The test helps you to collect meaningful feedback for improvement.
This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. Create powerful, visual job aids for training in seconds with tools like Scribe. Get started today!