If your job requires an action with several complicated steps, then you have probably made yourself a cheat sheet. This cheat sheet is essentially a job aid. Job aids are developed in different forms for many different purposes, but they all share the common goal of supporting workers in completing complicated processes. Below are three of the most common types of job aids.
Flow charts are made up of lines, symbols, questions, and decision points. It also includes “yes” and “no” statements, which lead the users to their next decision. A flow chart will start off asking a question. The user will answer “yes” or “no” to that question and then flow the line below their answer to the next question or decision point. Eventually, the user will come to a solution or ending point.
Step-action charts are sort of like flow charts but in a grid format. They are basically comprised of “If/Then” statements and also lead users down a set of steps to complete an action.
Checklists are often used to ensure completeness and consistency. Depending on the task, items on a checklist may need to be followed in a strict order.
A template is a format for how a document should be completed. The purpose of a template is to ensure consistency and also reduce completion time. Employees may benefit from having a template for emailing customers about a certain product, for example.
Writing a Good Job Aid
It is important to understand how the format of a job aid relates to the task to be completed. For example, a checklist will not work if the task to be completed requires decision points. In this case, a flow chart or step-action chart would make more sense. Once the job aid is completed, it should be proofread by a subject matter expert (or two) before it is released to others. If a job aid has incorrect information, this error will be replicated across the organization. It is also important that the job aid is introduced to learners during training so that they have the opportunity to become familiar with it.
Job Aids during Training
During training, learners may come across information that they will need frequently but cannot be memorized, for example, a long process for completing a task or how all the features of a product should be mentioned in an email to a customer. Once learners have been exposed to the process or product, trainers can offer learners a job aid to help them complete the task on their own. By performing the task while using the job aid, learners are not only learning to perform the task but also learning to navigate the job aid. Once learners are out in the workplace, they will be armed with the knowledge and tools they need to get the job done.
Make sure job aids are stored in an easily accessible location. Mindflash is a learning management system that can help organize online learning content and related job aids. Learners can access job aids from anywhere, anytime. Request a demonstration of the Mindflash platform. See for yourself how easy the Mindflash LMS is to use.