As you may have heard lately, the attention span of humans has greatly decreased since the advent of the smart phone and social media. In the early 2000s, most people could give undivided attention to a subject for about 12 seconds. Now, that has decreased to a solid eight seconds. We can attribute this to the short, quick videos that play on Facebook, quick screen load times, and quick bite-sized bits of information on Twitter (among other things). Thanks to these short attention spans, we have to change the way we convey information to our employees during ERP training. If we try to use older methods, we’ll likely find that we lost our end users a half an hour ago. We have to make our ERP training bite-sized.
On top of our short attention spans, humans can be extremely selfish. Everyone wants to know “how will this affect me?” Teaching every end user how to use the entire system is a waste of their time and yours. Most end users will be using a certain module or area of the system and only needs to know how to do a set number of tasks. Those in management may need to understand how to work the whole system, but someone such as a sales rep may only need to know how to view their customer list and enter in new customers.
If you create an hour-long video that explains how to use an entire area of the system, chances are you won’t get very many people watching it. Since attention spans are short, people don’t even want to think about watching a video that long. Similarly, no one is going to read a manual that’s 15 pages long. Try to make “how-to” videos for the system that are less than 3 minutes long, so employees can easily find exactly what they are looking for and solve the problem quickly. If you are using a read-only manual, highlight the most important information in bold and use screenshots so it stands out
You don’t want to overwhelm the end users with information during your ERP training, so it is best to give them their bite-sized information over a longer period of time. If you inundate them with every topic they are supposed to learn, by the end their head will be spinning and they won’t have retained much. Focus on one specific topic one day, and save the rest for later. This will keep their attention longer.
Everything has become “bite-sized” now. Even some newspapers have started offering a shortened bullet point list of the article so no one has to read the whole thing. We have trained ourselves to expect everything to come quickly, so we have to adapt in our ERP training. Otherwise, your attempts to keep end users interested and trained will be futile.
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