Whether you are investing in new software or creating customer or employee training on your own, practice via hands-on labs is a must. Benefits range from cost savings to knowledge retention to post-training access. But, creating effective virtual labs can feel like a daunting task. To make it a bit easier for you, we’ve compiled our top 8 tips:
- Be direct. Ensure your instructions use the imperative mood. Start your lab step instructions with verbs, for example, “Select the folder..”, “Click the icon…”, Remove the file…”
- Use the second person (“You”), if you are addressing the audience of the lab, not the third person “We”. For example, “If you follow these instructions, you will…”
- Make the lab relevant. Focus on the “What’s in it for me” message, even If that message is implicit. Why should lab consumers do the lab? To make their lives easier, to learn important information, etc.
- Provide sufficient context through introductions, sidebars, and other explanatory material to ensure that the lab is not just a sequence of steps and that the lab consumers can easily grasp the bigger picture.
- Where possible, provide users the choice to dive deep into ancillary, but related content, for more background. At the same time, ensure that this content is not a distraction from the lab steps. That is, give the user some control over how much background content they want to consume to further their understanding.
- Ensure that your lab content is logically organized into easily consumed, discrete units.
- Ensure the lab has unity and has a clear beginning, middle, and end state.
- Provide a payoff. Ensure that the lab accomplishes a goal that is communicated clearly at the outset. Ensure that lab consumers change the state of the lab environment to accomplish the stated goal.
Need help? The Learn on Demand Systems Team can help you optimize and/or troubleshoot your existing labs. Or we can design and build them for you.