Like The Oompa Loompa Do? Mobile Job Aids For Performance Support

Like The Oompa Loompa Do? Mobile Job Aids For Performance Support
Summary: Mobile job aids provide simplified information, and illustrated instructions of steps or procedures needed to perform tasks, all at a learner’s fingertips. They can also be used for coaching and mentoring! In this article, I'll highlight some of the key uses for mobile job aids.

Key Uses For Mobile Job Aids For Performance Support

I happened to catch a rerun of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory the other day, and as I was mindlessly watching one of the factory scenes with the Oompa Loompas, the Instructional Designer in me couldn’t help but wonder, “Geez, they’re efficient!” How did they come to be so proficient at their jobs? And what did their training program look like?

I mean, seriously. It’s not like you can imagine them in a back room full of computers, clicking through an eLearning course. Or being led around by an OSHA consultant in an ILT training. It’s safe to assume that most of their training would be on the job, with mentoring by some wise Senior Oompa Loompa, right? Clearly, they’d have trainers, managers, and an entire L&D department, I’m sure.

And then, as my mind was wandering, I thought back to two recent conversations I’d had about performance support.

When Your Workers Are On The Road, Performance Support Should Be There Too

A few weeks ago, I sat down with the CEO of a successful custom furniture studio. He described how two of his employees recently were delivering a trailer full of high-end custom pieces to a home in Aspen, Colorado. During the drive (but, luckily, off the highway), the trailer unhitched and crashed violently into the back of their truck. The cause? The wrong size of trailer ball was mounted on the hitch.

Fortunately, no one was injured, and the furniture pieces suffered no damage. He went on to say how he needed a training program that explains the proper steps to packing a trailer and hooking it up properly. A seemingly simple instructional problem, but one that takes some rolling up of the Instructional Design sleeves.

A formal classroom-based training not only would be ineffective in this case, but it would also be just plain boring for this audience of carpenters and fabricators. Likewise, eLearning just wouldn’t make sense, as these guys don’t have computers or tablets. But they do have phones.

And then an epiphany struck: mobile job aids.

The Appeal Of Mobile Job Aids: Steps And Procedures At Your Fingertips

Mobile job aids provide simplified information and illustrated instructions of steps or procedures needed to perform tasks, all at a learner’s fingertips. They can be used for delivering an initial training and as a quick reference guide afterward. Job aids make learning targeted, direct, and immediate. And the mobile delivery makes them easily accessible on the job.

Problem solved. We could create a series of simple but impactful mobile job aids that could be delivered via the furniture studio’s cloud-based Project Management software. By basing the job aids in that system, the tools could be linked to a task in a project plan. When a team member is assigned to an upcoming delivery, the mobile job aids could pop up on their phone via a text message. With simple interactive infographics and flowcharts, the steps of packing and hooking up a trailer would be clear, concise, and effective.

Mobile Job Aids For Culture Reinforcement And Coaching

A few weeks later, I visited the headquarters of one of the world’s largest kidney care companies. In addition to being recognized for its tremendous success within its industry, this company is also widely known for its commitment to company culture and values. With beautiful branding, catchy slogans, and emotional storytelling, this company is known for creating—and instilling—meaningful culture.

As I walked the halls of its creatively designed headquarters, I kept thinking again about mobile job aids and how these tools could help reinforce the company’s culture and systems.

In addition to listing procedures, the company could use the mobile job aids for:

  • Checklists.
  • Decision tables.
  • Flowcharts.
  • Work sheets.
  • Forms.
  • Technical glossaries.
  • Reference sources.
  • Coaching/feedback.

Coaching and mentorship also play a key role in executing and operationalizing this company’s robust culture. One of the employees described immersive camp-like environments where team members across all divisions come together for hands-on guidance, training, and coaching. These summits are incredibly effective (and fun!), but what happens in the weeks or months following this training? How does the coaching continue? And how is learning retained?

Mobile job aids provide the perfect solution for post-training support. Imagine managers and mentors having a new mobile job aid pushed to their phones at the start of each month. This tool could provide a prompt for engaging role-play scenarios with their team. Or it could contain an interactive checklist of performance evaluation criteria to be used for coaching. Likewise, it could link to other sources of information, such as a curated list of inspirational quotes, or stories from clients they’ve served.

When Training And Performance Support Needs To Be Real -Time, Think Mobile

In short, mobile job aids are powerful tools that can be used for simple, relevant, and effective training. Job aids directly support performance in a real-time manner. And delivery via mobile devices makes them even more impactful and immediate.

So back to my Netflix movie binging: those Oompa Loompas surely would benefit from mobile job aids! Imagine them on their cool smartphones, pulling up a powerful, simple checklist as they work on their choreography and look up the lyrics that come after “Oompa loompa doompety doo…”

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