September  20,  2018

My granddaughter is about to celebrate her 1st birthday. I can’t believe how fast a year has gone. My daughter asked me to help create a birthday video using pics and video clips we’ve all taken this past year. We set up a cloud-based storage location for all family members to contribute to the video. It was easy to set up and seemed intuitive. Well, sort of. Aunt Martha did not find it easy to use or intuitive.

This is one of the big myths of cloud-based applications: They don’t need a robust training solution. Wrong! You must remember:

Aunt Martha isn’t in the cloud. An effective training solution must consider your audience. You might have tech-savvy audiences, which means your training solutions can be quite nimble and fast. Aunt Martha needed me to sit with her and walk her through each step, several times. She asked me to write down the step-by-step instructions. She then insisted I set her up on “speed-dial” so she could call me if she had trouble.

Aunt Martha doesn’t know the process. The cloud-based application is a tool. It enables people to do their jobs (like create an awesome baby video) more effectively. Sometimes the application supports the processes through customization or workflows, but sometimes those are add-on learnings for users.  Aunt Martha didn’t know how to take a pic on her phone and then transfer it to the cloud drive. She didn’t know how to find pics on her phone! This meant I had to give her training beyond just using the cloud application, to make sure she could follow the process. I also had to incorporate these extra steps into the existing training, so she could see how it all fit together.

Aunt Martha doesn’t like this one bit. With any training, especially technical training, we tend to focus on the business process and system steps to accomplish tasks. If that’s all you do, you might be moderately successful. But truly impactful, results-driven training focuses on key behaviors. Beyond the system or process, what behaviors are you trying to encourage? Aunt Martha didn’t trust the system. She didn’t trust the pics wouldn’t be stolen or somehow removed from her phone. But I wanted her to share her photos with us – that was the key behavior. So I set up alerts on our cloud drive; they notified me anytime Auntie loaded a pic. When I received a text, I immediately texted her, saying, “I see your added pic. Thank you! Now, check your phone to make sure it is still there.” Over time, she began to feel accomplished and to trust the system and the process.

Many cloud-based applications are easier and more intuitive than ever – for some people. We must not lose sight of human factors outside the application that cause system implementations to fail. Don’t just assume that, because it is in the cloud, it’s easy. Don’t assume that, because there aren’t that many changes to the process, people won’t need training. I followed these principles, and they worked. Aunt Martha shared all her cute pics. And she might not be what you’d consider tech-savvy, but she is using a Google Drive!