Job Aid

Job Aid

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Term2.png Job Aid
A job aid is typically a one page sheet that guides the user through a series of easy-to-follow steps to perform a specific task or procedure. In other words, a job aid is designed to help a person quickly and easily accomplish a goal.


Contents

Benefits

Job aids should be considered an integral part of your training and documentation efforts. They have many advantages and benefits, including[1]:

- Enhancing retention and transfer of training to the job - Providing consistency - Supplying just-in-time information - Communicating updates to learners or system users - Reducing information overload in training - Improving efficiency and quality - Reducing risk and safety accidents - Orienting new employees to job tasks

Typologies

Job aids come in many formats. Some of the more common job aid formats are listed below [2]:

Steps

The step-by-step format presents information and directions in a specific sequence. The step format is most appropriate when the user must complete a series of linear procedures in which detail and sequence are critical to completing the task.

Forms and Worksheets

Forms and worksheets are similar to the step format in that they guide the user through a process in a specific sequence. They require user participation, however, and include blanks or spaces for the user to record responses. Forms and worksheets are most appropriate when calculations must be performed or when information is stored for future reference.

Checklists

Checklists are groups of items to be considered when planning or evaluating. They present guidelines for completing a task and are most commonly used to ensure consistency. Items are presented in a logical order but are not necessarily followed in that order by the user.

Decision Tables

Decision tables allow the user to make decisions and complete tasks based on a set of conditions. They are usually comprised of “if-then” statements that guide users to appropriate decisions. Decision tables are most appropriate when tasks or decisions are dependent on conditions that may vary.

Flowcharts

Flowchart job aids are similar to decision tables in that completing the task or deciding on a course of action is dependent on conditions that may vary. Unlike the decision table, however, questions in a flowchart can be answered with a yes or no.

Reference Sources

Reference sources primarily provide information required for completing a task. Unlike the other types of job aids, they do not provide information to be followed in a step-by-step manner nor do they coach the user in a decision-making process. Examples of reference sources include telephone books and parts catalogs containing detailed information such as product and price data.


Toolkit.png How to design an effective Job Aid

What you should do before to start

The key to design an effective job aid consists in carefully planning your target audience needs to select the format and content that best suits your objectives. Before to start, be sure to have an answer for each of these questions.

The key to design an effective job aid consists in carefully planning your target audience needs to select the format and content that best suits your objectives. Before to start, be sure to have an answer for each of these questions:

Analyzing the Job Aid’s function

• What should the learner typically do to complete the task?

• What is the order of steps to take?

• What kind of tool is used to perform the task?

Analyzing the learner

• What is your target audience?

• What is the learner’s experience’s level? If the learner has limited experience, you will need to include more details in the job aid.

Determine the typology of Job Aid

Decide what part of the task is being supported by the job aid. Will it provide the step-by-step procedures, guidelines to follow, or reference information? Visualize how the job aid will be consulted and how it should be structured.

What’s in a Job Aid

Employ short and action steps [3]

Include only the necessary steps or information required by the learner. Ask yourself if the step or content is relevant to the task at hand. Keep the information as simple and concise as possible. Present the information in small pieces. Limit each step to only one action. Write short sentences and use short words to describe or list the steps, processes, calculations, or decisions that need to be made. Remember that the job aid should be a quick reference for the user. Place critical information in the first and last parts of sentences or sections of the job aid.

Use simple language

Use language that the learner will understand. Avoid long, unfamiliar words and jargon. Use verbs and actions words at the beginning of sentences wherever possible.

Visual Elements

Having a verbal description and a matching picture will help to make each action even clearer. The picture can be an actual picture or a realistic illustration. While black and white is more cost effective, consider using color to really clarify objects and actions. Speaking of actions, it’s also a good idea to use arrows, highlights, or close-ups to “illustrate” your point. Use drawings or graphics when appropriate to clarify information or provide more detail than words would allow. Graphics and illustrations should be clear and simple. Be consistent in the type of visual that is used. If you use a drawing in one step, use one in any subsequent steps. Highlight critical points or steps by using bold or italicized text. Colors can also be used to highlight and code items or sections of the task.

Limit it to one sheet

Each job aid should fit on one sheet of paper. It may be front and back, but it’s still one sheet. If there are so many details that the job aid would be multiple sheets, consider multiple job aids. The one exception to this is in the case of a detailed checklist.


Link icon.png Web Resources
Find below additional information and resources.
Link Content
Job Aids as Spoilers in e-learning Courses An article about the importance of creating Job Aids to support the learners.

References

  1. www.trainingmag.com (19 November 2009)
  2. www.astd.org
  3. www.langevin.com (10 January 2013)