Do Your Job

It’s not just about football – it should be training’s mantra too

My local (and favorite) National Football League team, the New England Patriots, have a motto that says ‘Do Your Job’.

Everyone on the team has a job to do, and every one of the coaches needs to help the players learn how to do their job. Although the Patriots did not end up winning the big game this year against the Philadelphia Eagles, we can learn a lot from their motto when it is applied to Education.

As Theodore Levitt once said, “people do not want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.”This is the basis for a theory created by Clayton Christensen’s called Jobs-to-be-Done.The tenants are that people don't buy products or services. They purchase products (or services) to fulfill a specific job in their lives.For companies to determine what that specific job to be done is, you have to understand the progress the customer is trying to make in a particular circumstance.

This concept is applied to many areas of business, including sales and product development. With all the changes and rapid development of technology during the digital transformation, this concept is important for the education industry.

Example of Jobs to be Done applied to Education

A long time ago I worked at a company which used Lotus Notes for its email communication. We then switched to Outlook and were all given mandatory training. The training focused on the features and functions of Outlook from an inside-out perspective. Outlook had capabilities and those were what the training was based on.However, in reality, my ‘job to be done’ was something that transcended just Outlook as a product. I did not need to learn about just features and functions of the tool. Back then, with email being a new concept, I needed to learn additional skills to do my job, including how to organize my communications, how to effectively communicate digitally, how to keep up with my tasks, just to name a few.

Applied to education, the major change in how education should be created is that we should stop just training on the product and instead train on the job that people are trying to get done using the product. Here are a few tips on how to apply Jobs-to-be-done theory to education.

Analyze not just the product, but the job

People want to avoid having to use multiple trainings and learning tools to get their job done. Focus on whether your learning solution can help students get an entire job done instead of simply the first portion.

Design courses that relate to the job the user needs to do. This means making courses that are role-based and including concepts that are not specific to the product, but are specific to the job that needs to get done.In my example with Outlook, I also needed to learn how to organize and communicate effectively.

Don't just include the ‘What’ but also include the ‘How’

Don't put all your focus designing your education offering on just what content you should include. Make sure you also design your education offering for how the user wants to learn to do their job. One key for students is motivation. Will adding in things like badging and gamification motivate them?Will making the course a library of modules that the learner can choose based off their current needs compared to a pre-determined set of prescriptive moduleshelp motivate the student?

How does this relate to the Analytics economy?

Due to the digital transformation, companies have an abundance of data.Companies that can turn that raw data into insights are the ones that will thrive. To truly do that, education on analytics products should not just teach people how to use the features of the product. What will truly add value and differentiate is to teach capabilities that the user needs to complete using the product to do their job.Within the analytics economy, some of these capabilities include concepts like data literacy, storytelling and communicating using data, and decision-making techniques.

Kevin Hanegan shares one lesson from his favorite team @patriots that we should all adopt when it comes to training!


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