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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Screening out induction inefficiency
Article Type: E-HR From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 3
How technology is changing the way HR works
Technology has become a ubiquitous feature of the modern day workplace. For human resource (HR) professionals, getting new and existing staff up-to-speed with an organization’s technologies is essential for a smooth induction process and ensuring every employee has the knowledge and skills required in their job role.
The induction and training of new employees can put a lot of pressure on the HR department. Finding time for multiple employees to receive a single training session is not an easy task. Off-site business meetings, shift work and people on annual leave make the organization of one or several training sessions a tough task.
One-to-one training can offer a solution, but when a high number of employees require training all at once, for example when new equipment or software is introduced, multiple training sessions can put significant strain on the HR department.
Capturing learning content
A training technique known as “screencasting” offers a simple and effective method of getting staff up-to-speed with an organization’s technology and processes quickly. Screencasting refers to the process of recording activity on a computer’s screen and editing it into a video tutorial. These videos can include a voiceover from the presenter, which can be used to walk the viewer through what is happening on screen. Once completed, the tutorials can be made available to employees to view in their own time, or can be used as a learning aid during formal training.
For the HR professional, there is the opportunity to reduce the time spent training and inducting new employees while still ensuring they have all the knowledge needed for their job role. Screencast videos provide a one-to-one training experience, as watching a recorded tutorial is similar to receiving a live demonstration. This demonstration need only be given once, with screencasting used to capture the learning content so it can be viewed multiple times by different employees. There is also an inherent cost saving for the HR department, as the requirement for external training of employees is reduced.
Staff have the option to review any parts that were not understood first time around or follow up with a HR or training manager for more formal training, if required. If a picture says a thousand words, then screencast videos will speak volumes for HR and training professionals. Following are some applications of screencasting being used to achieve organizational efficiencies.
Case study: an induction health check
General practitioner Dr Juno Jesuthasan uses screencasting to train medical staff at his practice in Ipswich in the UK. Having numerous part-time staff meant that finding a single time to deliver training to all staff was problematic. Training was often disparate and had to be repeated multiple times to ensure all staff were able to use the practice’s specialist software programs.
Dr Jesuthasan created a central database to house all the information and learning resources his staff need. Previously, Word documents explaining how to use the practice’s software were used for training, but these could not actually show staff how to use the software. To overcome these limitations and extra work required to train staff on a one-to-one basis, Dr Jesuthasan created a series of video tutorials demonstrating how to use the software to complete everyday tasks.
These videos can now be accessed on an on-demand basis, meaning staff can access the learning resources they need without having to make an appointment with Dr Jesuthasan. Penny Ashbee, practice manager at Dr Jesuthasan’s surgery, comments:
The NHS is going through so much change at the moment that screencasting is going to become increasingly useful. Currently staff find screencast training very useful, especially as they can watch short demonstrations, which don’t require a lot of time out of their schedule. Those who take things in more slowly are able to watch the screencasts again as and when they need to, without having to repeatedly ask for help.
Case study: educating the educators
Jodie Collins, specialist ICT coordinator and teacher at South Rise School, also in the UK, has implemented screencast-based training to aid in inducting teaching assistants (TAs) to the school. New TAs require a working knowledge of the school’s ICT systems, which include a managed learning environment (MLE), from their first day. Getting them up-to-speed quickly is essential.
Previously, new TAs undertook an eight-week course designed to provide all the information they need to use the school’s ICT systems. The course used a booklet as a reference guide, with screenshots to highlight software features. Although the guide proved a helpful resource on a teacher’s first day, it did not offer the level of retention required as TAs often had to be shown applications several times.
To improve the induction process, a series of screencasts were developed to demonstrate how to use common software, including Microsoft Office programs and the school’s MLE. These initial videos proved very successful. The videos can also be viewed outside of school, so if a teacher experiences problems at home, when lesson planning, there is no need to wait until the next day to get an answer.
Since implementing the screencasts, there has been a notable improvement in baseline TA knowledge. There has also been a reduction in the costs of producing training materials as there is no longer a requirement to print training booklets for the eight-week course. Instead, Collins puts the screencasts on discs, which are much cheaper than paper. In some cases discs are not required, as staff have home access to the screencast tutorials.
Matt PierceBased at TechSmith.
About the author
Matt Pierce is training manager at TechSmith Corporation, specializing in aiding HR and training managers in creating effective training materials. Matt Pierce can be contacted at: m.pierce@TechSmith.com