You train your users and employees best in a software, when you take on their perspective instead of your own. In this article, we will introduce you to five elements that make your training and onboarding outcomes as best as possible. 

How it works

Simply follow these five rules:

  1. Reduce the cognitive load of your users. Therefore:

  2. Be consistent,

  3. Have a clear structure,

  4. Tell people, what they can expect and what they learned and

  5. Make people remember the content.

What you need to do

1. Reduce the cognitive load of your users

People, in general, only have a limited cognitive capacity, which means that they cannot process much information at once. The less previous knowledge one has and the more complex a topic is, the more difficult it is to process new information and, thus, to learn new topics. Therefore, the rule is: the less previous knowledge or the more complex the topic, the less information should be in one learning unit. 

So, how can you use this in your userlanes? You should always focus on teaching your knowledge in little steps. Try not to put too much information in one slide or in a userlane. Consider that your users don’t know as much as you do about the userlane content and therefore can’t process it that easily. Try to keep it as simple as possible!

To follow this most important aspect of effective learning, there are some more rules that help you to improve the learning effects of your users:

2. Be consistent

This is a simple rule: always use the very same wording in your userlanes. This wording should always match the wording of your application. It applies to words you would see in a glossary but also to phrases like 'Hi there' or 'Dear Sir and Madam'.

Being consistent prevents your users from misunderstandings and helps them to organize their new knowledge. Consistence can also be created by a clear and obvious structure within your userlanes. Therefore:

3. Be structured

If you structure the content of your userlanes, your users will find it easier to structure the new knowledge as well (which will again reduce their cognitive load). 

Regarding your userlane structure, make sure that the chapters and the userlane titles within the chapters are logically and consistently constructed. Thus, your users will easily know, in which chapter and userlane they can find the knowledge and information they are looking for. 

4. Use learning goals

Learning goals are terms, which briefly describe what a user should learn in a specific userlane.  Learning goals always have to be clear, specific and realistically worded.
It is, for example, better to write 'You will learn how to request a new holiday' instead of 'You will learn about vacations'. One userlane should have a specific learning goal, and it should be mentioned in your Go- and Last-Slide. Writing it in the Go-Slide helps your users to pre-structure what they can learn in that userlane, repeating it in the Last-Slide helps your users to focus and doublecheck their newly acquired knowledge. 

This could look like the following example texts with two learning goals of a Userlane tour: 

  • Go Slide text: ‘In this tour I will show you, where you can add a chicken to your online zoo and how you can change the color of its feathers. Ready? Let’s go!’

  • Last Slide text: ‘Well done! Now you know how to add a chicken to your online zoo and how to change its color! Ready to proceed with the next tour?’

5. Make people remember the content

There are three ways to learn content in educational sciences: repeat, organize and elaborate. While repeating does have the smallest effects, elaboration is the most effective method. Elaboration in this context means, that you have to connect the new information to your previous knowledge in order to understand and remember it properly. Just linking the new knowledge to knowledge that the customer has acquired beforehand is enough to trigger this effect.

To use that effect, you can, for example, use an avatar image that links to a person your users are already familiar with or use some very specific information from your application or website. If you have a mascot, you could also add some funny side notes about the mascot learning something new with a userlane.

You should think about this

  • How complex is the content you want to teach and how high is the previous knowledge of your users?

  • How can you structure your content into different chapters and userlanes properly?

  • Which userlane has which learning goals and how can you achieve them in the most effective way?

  • How can you support the elaboration of your users?

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