Thursday, April 23, 2015

Those little stress moments caused by technology hurdles...


Here you see a picture of reduced pavement edge that makes me happy every time I cycle to the train station. On the way to my station, I had to move my bike high up on the sidewalk here. It seems a small nuisance, but when you are just in a hurry and oncoming traffic is stopping you it can be troublesome. One fine day I saw this reduced pavement step and I was really happy because now I can just continue to the station by cycling. Quickly maneuvering between the oncoming traffic. This pavement reduction appears to be a detail for mankind but makes my trip to the station as a cyclist so much more comfortable. There is one mini-stress moment less on every train travel.

Are you involved in online learning and collaboration? Whether it comes to design of blended courses, a social intranet or online workplace learning - you have to deal with technological annoyances. The mini-stress moments. Thus, the technical details sometimes become an obstacle, to yourself or others. I have once facilitated an online course in Sharepoint and that is where my own allergy from Sharepoint got its foundation. Every time I wanted to read an answer I had to click to open the answer. I was completely grumpy from there about sharepoint! Besides looking at functionalities it is hence important to (continue to) look for the so-called dissatisfiers, 'annoyances' things that make a tool that produces stress.

Herzberg has a model for employee motivation - making a distinction between satisfiers and dissatisfiers. We may tend to give more attention to the satisfiers (what's in it for them?) But also look at your dissatisfiers in using online tools. I think Herzberg is certainly right - in saying that you must work on removing the dissatisfiers as much as possible. They may be small but influential. In Ghana, we could not book a direct flight to cut costs and then had to change planes in London. This was such dissatisfier we had continuously discussions over this topic and the stories were getting worse. After this policy was changed there was room for attention for more important matters. How can you detect dissatisfiers in online learning / collaboration?
  • When choosing tools look for possible dissatisfiers. This is a reason for me to give priority to tools that people already know. No new tools = less chance for dissatisfiers. Testing with participants also helps of course. And self testing. A shiny new tool but clumsy because it does not work in the browser which most people are using? Forget about it. 
  • Make login easy. Log in can be an obstable. I'm very happy that you can send a webinar link with Adobe Connect to participants with the instruction; click on this link and enter your name. So simple. I have worked with a platform where you could not change your password. To me that is a dissatisfier which might put people off. In certain situations, you may therefore opt for a special tool without login. See 9 video conferencing tools without login.
  • Monitor dissatisfiers. You can not foresee everything while testing. Disssatisfiers can differ from person to person as well. So monitor what is easy / difficult try to remove obstacles. For instance, I noticed that with a series of webinars speakers were nervous for the technique. Employing someone who is helping 'take care of technology' takes the stress away. In another process, people were quick to lost the link to a platform. It helped to have a bookmarklet (icon) they could find in the browser and there but have to click. In an organisation, a pop up on the intranet was meant to help them pay attention, but was a major dissatifier. Monitor and adjust... 
Actually you looking for my lowered curb / reduced pavement edge but for the people you are working with online

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