Onboarding Part 2: Technical Learning Tasks

This is the second post in the Foundations of a Brilliant Onboarding Program series. The first post was focused on the overall structure of the program. This post will focus on how to create effective technical learning tasks. A technical learning task is a task with the goal of teaching the new hire a complicated technology. Note, my examples will focus on tasks for Technical Support Engineer new hires.

Introduction

First and foremost, technical learning tasks should be tiered. The tasks should become more challenging as the new hires progress through the program, becoming more in-depth and detailed. The increasing difficulty of technical tasks also fits nicely into Bloom’s Taxonomy 6 levels of learning.

Briefly, Bloom’s six levels are:

  1. Remembering
  2. Understanding
  3. Appling
  4. Analyzing
  5. Evaluating
  6. Creating

Task Examples Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Here are the six levels with task examples:

  1. Remembering: A multiple choice knowledge check after reading the product documentation.
  2. Understanding: A knowledge check with short answers asking them to summarize main concepts after an instructor-led training.
  3. Applying: A self-paced task could be to set-up the product.
  4. Analyzing: Triage tickets by categorizing them by component.
  5. Evaluating: Completing technical challenges and summarizing the issues.
  6. Creating: A couple examples are: creating a new technical challenge or giving a presentation on the product.

Technical Learning Task

In addition to tiered tasks that fit into Bloom’s Taxonomy levels, I recommend creating tasks that are job-relevant and self-paced. Job relevant tasks should resemble the main job functions and incorporate previously learned skills. This provides new hires a chance to apply their product knowledge to real-life situations. Job relevant tasks are more likely to be in level 3 or higher in Bloom’s Taxonomy.

My favorite job relevant task is to provide new Support Engineers with “broken” software. They must then use the support troubleshooting tools and their product knowledge to resolve the issues. This could even include a mock ticket where they can practice customer-facing responses.

The “broken” software task could also be self-paced. This allows them to work on the task throughout the day, without guidance from others. I have also found that self-paced tasks:

Self-paced tasks could also include pre-recorded instructor-led training, pre-recorded demos, documentation, and knowledge checks. There should be self-paced tasks in all six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Wrap-Up

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to create the technical tasks will also provide natural structure. Also, note that the technical tasks should fit into the overall organizational structure. In the next and final post, I would like to focus on creating procedural learning tasks.

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