Task, Interrupted: How to Seamlessly Integrate Training into Work
You’re a sales manager, and your sales team needs training on a specific aspect of their jobs. Your organization intends for this training to be just-in-time learning — if they need a little help, they take a learning module in your LMS, and then they return to what they were doing in the CRM, and perform the task.
It seems like an easy way to deliver learning whenever your team needs it without making them take courses when they’re off work, or losing too much company time to online training, but you start noticing a problem. When they take the training, your team becomes less productive. They’re spending more time than they should on training — but not on the learning itself. It’s all the other, little things that happen when a person switches from one app or device to another; navigating to the LMS, trying to figure out where the right module is, the dance of the forgotten passwords, and thinking “I’ll quickly check Facebook since I’m taking a break anyway.”
There are a whole host of problems that can happen when employees move from one application or device to another. How do you minimize those interruptions when you’re trying to integrate training into an employee’s day, and how do you keep employees focused when they’re taking advantage of just-in-time training?
The trouble with task-switching
No one likes interruptions — not only are they irritating the person who is being interrupted, but they’re also disruptive to an organization’s productivity.
Case in point: according to the Information Overload Research Group (IORG), if a knowledge worker is interrupted at work, it takes 10 to 20 times the duration of the interruption to recover and get back to their previous task. Studies show it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a previous task after any interruption at all — so, if your employees “quickly check Facebook” while they’re waiting for a password confirmation, they may not get back to your LMS or your CRM for at least another 20 minutes.
All those interruptions add up. According to Jonathan Spira, author of Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization, interruptions and information overload are responsible for 28 billion wasted hours a year — a loss of almost $1 trillion to the U.S. economy.
The human brain isn’t designed to handle context-switching. The American Psychological Association has written at length about the toll task-switching and multitasking can take on productivity; people who switch from one task to another are usually lose time as their brain switches from one set of tasks to another, and can lose even more time if one task (like navigating a new LMS) is unfamiliar. Even worse, depending on the amount of multitasking being done at the time, none of the tasks may be done well.
This poses a challenge for learning and development leaders; the purpose of just-in-time training is to deliver learning exactly when employees need it. The last thing an organization wants is for that learning itself to become a distraction.
Keeping employees where they need to be
You’re not going to be able to protect your employees from every interruption threatening their productivity — coworkers will stop and chat at their desks, inboxes will fill up, and social media will beckon — but, there is one major thing you can do to help them stay on task.
Deliver learning to your employees where they are by using an LMS that integrates with the platform where your workers spend the most time.
Remember the sales team from the beginning of this article? They had to leave their CRM and log into an LMS to access learning. That simple act of leaving their familiar CRM and moving to another platform is enough to derail a worker — especially if they’re not used to the LMS or don’t use it often.
By using an integration, you can keep your workers in the platform where they’re most comfortable, and deliver learning to them there. There’s no need to remember multiple sign-ins, no searching for the right courses in an unfamiliar platform. and managers can assign training to specific employees or teams within the program. For example, SAP Litmos’s integrations allows workers and managers to access training modules simply by clicking on the Litmos tab.
That way, when a member of your team needs learning, they can just click over to the LMS, take the training they need, and get right back to work — with a minimum of interruption.