This article is one of our favourites from around the web. We've included an excerpt below but do go and read the original!
In today's fast-paced world where there is a shortage of skilled experts and not enough time to train them, businesses have a strong motivation to document critical tasks and knowledge.
Documentation helps ensure that important information is retained within the organisation and easily accessible to those who need it.
As a medium of documentation, manuals are an important tool in the technical world, but they don't always provide enough information to ensure that the person reading them can perform the task correctly.
Creating effective and user-friendly manuals is not always an easy task (it’s the worst!).
It requires a different skill set than performing the actual task and is time-consuming. But, the need to have clear, concise and easy-to-use documented know-how is still essential for the overall performance of the organisation and its customers and even its business continuity (plenty of key person risks in every organisation).
Luckily there are more effective and cheaper ways of achieving the same (and better) outcomes.
Did you know that the brain identifies with visual content 60,000 faster than text?
So, make it basic with diagrams! A picture paints a thousand words and people prefer visual aids especially when conveying hands-on technical processes.
An easy example we are all familiar with is IKEA. Yes we joke about assembling IKEA furniture, but imagine if every flat pack had a text-only approach to assembly instructions.
Naturally, there are some pros and cons with this approach.
Let’s take it to the macro level.
Whether your manuals are visually based or not, ensuring people access all of your manuals and learning content from a central data repository is one of the most important things you can do for scalability.
However, if you have ever had to double check the version number of a manual then chances are you are yet to solve this headache.
There are plenty of options for centralising learning content out there, but when looking around be sure to remember one thing:
People don’t want to waste time searching for what they need.
So, it’s crucial to help them find the necessary information quickly. Look for solutions that have features like custom tables of contents, a search bar, intuitive categorizing, clear headings, and cross-linking. Within the online materials themselves, make sure users are able to easily move back and forth between sections, as well as between hierarchy levels.
TL;DR: Video > Manuals
If a picture paints 1000 words, then video is even better (insert joke here about 25fps vs 30fps).
In addition to the brain preferring visual content, it remembers and retains a combination of audio and visual information x5 more than what it reads.
A YouTube-like experience of capturing and passing on technical know-how is superior in several ways below, but more than that it's how people actually want to learn (my own story here).
We don’t read the manuals, and the younger the workforce the more likely that is to be the case.
A few other facts:
In the technical skills space however, videos are only just becoming a standard medium to train employees on how to properly perform their roles. It’s a competitive advantage that is setting companies apart from the pack.
From our experience we have seen:
Manuals will always have a role to play in the technical space. However, if there is a requirement to capture and broadcast actual know-how for people to apply skills, capturing them with video is more effective. It is also a more scalable, faster, and cheaper way to do business.
Video allows workers to have a "look, see, and do" experience on the job, rather than relying on their fallible memory of a manual they might have read once upon a time.
Interested in what a video-based approach to learning could look like for your frontline? Let’s chat!
HINDSITE gives your frontline Guided Work Instructions to standardise a high level of service. This allows OEMs to scale operations and compete based on service delivery without additional resources.
Let us know how we can reach you and we'll give you a ring to explore whether HINDSITE is the right fit for your team.