Everybody simplifies everyone else’s jobs, thinking they’re easy compared to what they do. This is natural, but it’s also deceiving. Quality determines the cost and time it takes to create corporate technical training.
There are tools available that make creating software tutorials easy and quick; the problem is that their quality is lacking. That’s the case with most tools that make a job easy. Without the necessary background knowledge and skills, the outcomes typically aren’t all that great.
This is what Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace did for web design. It’s also what rapid development tools have done for some eLearning. It’s easier to make junk now than ever.
It’s easy to think corporate technical training involves grabbing a tool like Stepsy or iorad and making many software tutorials. Watch the demo software tutorial on the iorad home page. It’s pretty basic and, frankly, wouldn’t be very effective for more than an extremely simple tutorial with little to no additional context.
They’re slightly improved over software tutorial videos but nowhere near as comprehensive or high quality as a software simulation eLearning course. Software tutorial videos aren’t ideal for learning company software.
But software tutorials that give you a basic level of interaction are sometimes a slight step above that. I say sometimes because they aren’t always. Videos can deliver more context and helpful information, so they can also be relatively high-quality.
An interactive software tutorial or a software tutorial video is an excellent microlearning solution for technical training. However, they will fail miserably in onboarding new employees at a company or changing employees’ behavior.
For starters, employees don’t know what they don’t know. Both of these software tutorials rely to some degree on employees knowing the resources are available.
These software tutorials typically consist of step-by-step instructions and give users a basic understanding of one specific feature or function of the software.
The biggest drawback of these software tutorial types is the lack of context, real-world scenarios, and realistic practice. I would picture them as being part of a knowledge base article, though, to provide a better walkthrough of a process in addition to a scannable KB article style.
This post will explore why we should move beyond thinking corporate technical training is simply software tutorials created with automated processes and tools. It’s a lot more than that; the content often can’t be made quickly and with little planning.
A software tutorial, video or interactive can sometimes be a snooze-fest or poorly created that they are hard to follow or pay attention to.
Sure, they’ll show you how to click this button and navigate that menu, but do they provide the context, scenarios, and other elements that make learning software effective and relevant to employees?
Then there’s the fact that these tools make it quick to show an entire process and every discrete step. Sometimes that’s way too much, though. You could make every employee take an hour to go through a process when they only need to learn a portion of it and can extrapolate from there.
A course that should only take 20 minutes could now easily take an hour with a tool like iorad.
Easy to create, overwhelming to take. Rapid development should never be the singular goal when creating eLearning.
These tools have too many limitations, and they don’t consider real learning. They’re just a quick way to create low-quality and unhelpful content. It sounds like generative AI, which isn’t suitable for technical training.
Let’s look at the limitations of these tools for building rapid interactive software tutorials.
The Limitations of Boring Software Tutorials Interactive Or Not
Anybody can create “learning” or training with a rapid eLearning development tool, right? Unfortunately, it’s true, but that doesn’t mean it’s quality, relevant, effective, or even learning at all.
Rapid tools for creating interactive software tutorials are the same deal. Unfortunately, it’s even worse with tools that make it easy to make these tutorials quickly. They have too many limitations, and it’s impossible to create anything that’s high quality or effective on a deeper level.
They’re fine tools for creating a short tutorial on a single process to provide quick performance support for employees. That’s where their helpfulness ends, though, and that’s not all that corporate IT training is. It goes beyond that to help employees learn a new tool holistically in relation to their jobs.
While we think performance support is a spectacular way to give employees the resources they’ll need to do their jobs, it can’t be the only type of training provided in many cases. But sometimes it can!
Handing employees a stack of job aids or telling them to learn how to use a new application with tutorials can be challenging. They’re an excellent secondary resource for everything but the simplest tasks.
Whether interactive or not, software tutorials are challenging to follow and apply to the work employees must do on the job. Relevance is essential in learning, and rapidly developed software tutorials don’t always cut it.
One of the main limitations of software tutorials is their lack of immersion. While they may provide step-by-step instructions on navigating through the software, they fail to create an environment that truly mirrors real-life situations.
This can make it difficult for employees to fully grasp the software’s practical applications and hinder their ability to transfer their newly acquired skills into their day-to-day work. Scenario-based learning is still the gold standard for truly learning how to use software for work.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into each one of the limitations.
Lack of Context & Scenarios
When following a software tutorial, employees are typically guided through a process without understanding how these actions fit into a larger context. They might be given minor context, but not enough to make it easy to connect to their job.
This can make it difficult for people to grasp the practical applications of the software or understand how it can be integrated into their specific workflows. They also focus on isolated features or functionalities without tying them to the company’s larger goal.
While these tutorials may teach users how to perform specific tasks, they can fail to demonstrate how they can be combined to achieve more complex goals or solve real-world problems.
In contrast, realistic software simulations offer a more immersive and context-rich learning experience. These simulations aim to replicate the software realistically while providing real-world scenarios.
That means employees can interact with the software and learn more practically and meaningfully. By providing relevant context and scenarios, simulations enable people to understand how the software can be used relative to their jobs or what the expectations are holistically.
Lack Of Problem-Solving Skill Development
One of the main drawbacks of traditional tutorials is their linear approach. They guide users through pre-determined scenarios, leaving little room for exploration or experimentation.
As a result, people may struggle to apply what they’ve learned to real-world situations or encounter roadblocks when using the software in the real world. Many projects we’ve worked on simply couldn’t be accomplished with only a software tutorial or job aid.
A custom software simulation replicates real software environments, sometimes allowing users to experiment freely and make mistakes without consequences. While not always open-ended, software simulations create a safe environment for employees to fail in and learn in a real-world context.
By actively engaging in the process in context to their job in a simulated environment, employees can develop a deeper understanding of the software’s capabilities and gain the skills to overcome complex challenges.
While tutorials have their place as an after-training resource, they fall short in fostering problem-solving skills and making connections to the real software that is essential for software mastery. By incorporating simulations into their learning journey, users can enhance their problem-solving skills and become proficient in using complex software applications in their workflow.
Lack of Relevance
When it comes to corporate technical training, many have fallen into the trap of thinking that software tutorials created with automated processes and tools are sufficient. However, this mindset fails to recognize the limitations of such tutorials in terms of relevancy, depth, and real-life application.
Rapidly developed software tutorials (interactive or not) don’t provide employees with much information on how they fit their jobs or roles. Click here, then here, then there. That’s not very relevant or helpful unless employees know what they are looking for and only need a simple nudge.
Unfortunately, employees don’t often know what they don’t know, so they can’t search for it. A more in-depth, scenario-based software simulation can tie in the relevance of the training to their job.
Often, these tutorials are generic and fail to address the specific needs and challenges employees face in their day-to-day work. As a result, employees may struggle to see the direct connection between the tutorial content and their job responsibilities.
This lack of relevancy can lead to disengagement and decreased learning motivation.
The absence of real-life applications in software tutorials can impede the learning process. Employees need opportunities to practice using the software in realistic scenarios related to how they’ll use it in their work environment.
By applying their knowledge in practical contexts, employees gain a deeper understanding of using the system and overcoming challenges they may encounter. Interactivity and relevance are key elements in facilitating this application-based learning approach.
Organizations should invest in technical training that goes beyond surface-level instruction of monotonous basic steps to overcome software tutorial limitations.
This includes incorporating relevant content that addresses specific job requirements and providing opportunities for hands-on practice in real-life scenarios. Employees can acquire the skills and confidence needed to maximize their productivity and contribute to organizational success.
While software tutorials can be developed rapidly, that’s not always the best approach. It encourages rushing through the process and simply showing a boring click-through tutorial. That’s where custom software simulations come in.
Custom Software Simulations Is What Technical Training Is About
Unlike traditional tutorials, custom software simulations offer a more immersive, comprehensive, and relevant learning experience. These simulations allow employees to interact with realistic scenarios that closely resemble their work environment.
Custom software simulations provide an unmatched hands-on experiential learning opportunity by placing employees in simulated situations where they must apply their knowledge and skills.
This enhances engagement and facilitates immediate skill transfer- provided it is used immediately at work. That’s why we recommend training as close to the time of need as possible.
It’s also a great way to practice using the software in a safe environment, gaining confidence and proficiency along the way.
The Benefits of Custom Software Simulations
Just as with everything, there are benefits and drawbacks to every form of training. There aren’t a lot of drawbacks to custom software simulations, though.
One of the main drawbacks is the price. They aren’t cheap to create and aren’t necessary in all cases. If they create little value, they simply wouldn’t be worth it. The other big drawback is that they take time to develop. It’s not like a quick software tutorial where you start an application, click through the process, and then it creates the training for you.
If either of these is the case, the number of employees needing to be trained is too small, or the value is too low. In that case, providing one-on-one training may be ideal. If custom training isn’t necessary, off-the-shelf solutions could fit the project’s needs.
But we’re not here to discuss the drawbacks. We’re here to examine all the benefits that custom software simulations provide employees. Let’s chat about the benefits of custom software simulations.
A good software simulation is typically scenario-based. Instead of simply following predefined steps, employees are presented with challenges and decisions that require them to think critically and problem-solve within the context of their job roles.
This approach keeps people actively engaged and helps them develop a deeper understanding of how the software functions in their work. By experiencing the software’s capabilities firsthand, employees can better grasp its potential and apply it effectively in their work.
Hands-On Experiential Learning
In addition to problem-solving, software simulations offer the advantage of contextual learning. They provide a realistic setting where users can sometimes explore different features and functionalities within the software application or be stepped through real processes.
This contextual understanding enables employees to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. It’s also more complete than a single task isolated from the rest of the process.
Hands-on experiential learning has proven highly effective in helping employees retain knowledge and develop mastery. Custom software simulations allow employees to actively participate in their learning rather than passively consuming information.
This level of engagement increases retention and fosters a sense of ownership over their learning journey.
More Relevant And Valuable Than Click Here, Then There Tutorials
Software tutorials can be helpful for employees who know what they don’t know and go looking for it. It’s not a great way to introduce new software or onboard new employees to software, though.
Click here, now click here, and then click settings. That can be so monotonous and boring while not being very helpful. Who’s going to remember all those specific steps?
Not many people.
These are best for job aids, but more context and job-specific scenarios are necessary for onboarding employees and introducing new software, making them more relevant and valuable.
Teaching isolated tasks or features isn’t a great strategy. Custom software simulations offer a more holistic approach to learning. Employees need to see the bigger picture and understand how different actions within the software impact overall outcomes and relate to their jobs.
Real-Life Applications: Immediate Skill Transfer
One of the most significant advantages of custom software simulations is their ability to facilitate immediate skill transfer. By immersing employees in realistic scenarios that mirror their work environment, these simulations enable them to apply what they’ve learned directly to their jobs.
This immediate application of skills enhances productivity and boosts confidence and motivation. Employees can see firsthand how their newly acquired knowledge translates into tangible results.
As long as they learn in the software simulation and immediately put their hands on the actual application, then transfer will be immediate. Unless they perform the task only once in a while, then it will be forgotten.
Corporate Technical Training, More Than Simple Software Tutorials
Hopefully, you can see a big difference between simple software tutorials created by automated software and the true nature of corporate technical training. I don’t simply record little disparate processes and then publish them.
Quality technical training is so much more than a simple tutorial. A lot of planning and process goes into creating relevant training that helps employees do their jobs better.
Boring software tutorials, whether interactive or not, have many limitations. On the other hand, technical training is really about custom software simulations. There’s no way to speed up the process of creating good training.
All the rapid software tools in the world only speed up one step of the process, which isn’t the step that takes the longest anyway. During the ADDIE process that we mainly adhere to when creating instruction, the development stage takes the least time.
Development can take as little as a week, while all the other steps can take a month or more. Simple software tutorials are not what technical training is in most cases. While it could be a tiny part, it’s not the bulk of the work.
Corporate technical training should move beyond thinking it is simply about software tutorials created with automated processes and tools. Custom software simulations offer a more engaging, immersive, relevant, and effective way for employees to learn and master software.
More context and relevance must be provided for onboarding new employees and introducing new software. While simple software tutorials have their place, they are only a tiny part of a much bigger process for enabling effective digital transformation.
Custom software simulations empower employees to become proficient software users by providing hands-on experiential learning, scenario-based challenges, and immediate skill transfer. They can then immediately apply what they learned to the job with the context they need to be effective.
It’s time to embrace a more dynamic and interactive corporate technical training approach that’s more complex than what a rapid software tutorial development tool could ever provide. Schedule a free consultation to discuss how quality corporate technical training can make your next IT software rollout more successful.