Recently, I bought a craft for me and my 3-year-old daughter to do together. It was recommended for her age so I thought, “This shouldn’t be too hard.” After pulling out all of the pieces and looking at the instructions, I realized this WAS going to be hard! The instructions only had four pictures which implied there were only four steps to this craft. By the time we got to the second picture, we were lost!
Those instructions were our job aid, but rather than “aid” us, they just frustrated us. So, as an instructional designer, when you’re designing job aids, what should you consider?
- Job aids should be written for the skill level of the lower 25% of your learner audience, and should be detailed enough for a novice to use it without confusion.
- In addition to the written words, pictures are a great reinforcement to your instructions or steps—the detail comes from the words, and the pictures reinforce those details.
- They are practical and easy to use; however, they are not suitable for detailed or highly complex tasks.
- They can become outdated quickly, but are easily updated when small changes take place in a process.
Here’s the perfect example of a simple, yet effective, job aid:
Learn more about creating helpful and interactive job aids in our Instructional Design for New Designers workshop! With great job aids, your training continues to benefit your learners even after you’ve taught the course.
What are some of your best job aids? I’d love to learn more, so please add your comments below.